The school board of Brookfield-Lyons Elementary School District 103 has agreed on a plan to enlarge and modify George Washington Middle School to meet growing student enrollment.
On July 25, the board came to consensus on a plan that would enlarge the lunchroom and add two classrooms at a cost of about $5.2 million. But the school will lose its auditorium, at least in its current form. In all, 6,540 square feet of space will be added to the school building.
A larger lunch room is needed because the school will see increasing enrollment in the next few years, say school officials. In 2012-13 enrollment is expected to increase by almost 100 students from the current enrollment of 720. And that is not expected to be just a temporary bulge.
“I’m looking forward to moving forward on it, and we’re going to improve George Washington Middle School for the future and be able to accommodate the number of students that we anticipate for a long time,” said District 103 Superintendent Michael Warner.
George Washington Middle School is located in Lyons but serves students in the southeastern portion of Brookfield.
The estimated cost of the project is $5.2 million – $4 million of which would be the construction cost. Warner said that he expects the final cost to be less than $5.2 million.
“That is a high estimate, so we would hope that when the bidding process is completed it would be less than that,” Warner said.
The district will pay for the project by using up to $3 million in reserve funds and some working cash bonds that the school board intends to issue.
On July 18, the school board unanimously approved a motion giving it the right, but not the obligation, to issue up to $3 million in working cash bonds.
The work will be done next summer.
The plan the school board supported will involve punching through a wall that separates the small gym from the auditorium to create a larger lunch and multipurpose room. Students currently eat lunch in the small gym.
“We’re just opening a wall between the small gym and the stage area of the auditorium and then converting that stage area into an eating area,” Warner said.
The theater-style seating in the auditorium will be replaced with movable tables and chairs and a level floor.
There may or may not be a stage. If there is, it would be smaller than the existing stage.
“We are still looking at the possibility of having the stage area a little bit higher than the rest of the flooring so that you could still have a small stage available for plays, but it would not be theater-style seating any more,” Warner said.
The school kitchen would also be expanded.
Two new classrooms would likely be used for English as a second language and for the school’s intervention program, both of which currently meet in small, cramped spaces. The intervention program sometimes must meet in the hallway due to a lack of space.
The project will also create additional space for lockers.
The school board considered seven different conceptual plans presented by architect Carole Donovan Pugh of Deerfield-based Green Associates.
Pugh said that the choice the district made was the most cost-efficient.
“Dollar for dollar it gives you the best value,” Pugh told the school board.
The board considered another plan that was estimated to cost $6.75 million.