Rendering of the proposed cafeteria. | DLA Architects

In a year or so, freshman and sophomores at Lyons Township High School will no longer have to eat lunch in the rather dark and somewhat dingy cafeteria at LT’s South Campus. Rather, they will eat in a spacious, modern and open two-story cafeteria and multipurpose room.

The new cafeteria will replaces the one that had not had meaningful updates since South Campus opened in 1956. A new music wing also will be built.

“The new spaces are going to be beautiful,” said LT District 204 Superintendent Brian Waterman.

It is expected that the cost of the new cafeteria will be about $7 million to $8 million. This includes adding more air conditioning to South Campus.

Students will be displaced during some of the construction of the new spaces.

“A little short term pain for long term gain,” Waterman said.

The new cafeteria will be designed to be an open, collaborative space featuring a two-story high ceiling and what are called learning stairs.

“I’m very excited to see this get started,” said LT school board member Tim Albores at the Sept. 5 Committee of the Whole meeting, when the plans for the new cafeteria for South Campus were shown to the school board.

Rendering of the LT south campus. | DLA Architects

A request for bids is expected to go out around Thanksgiving. Bids will be opened around Christmas or in early January.

LT officials are planning other facilities’ improvements in what is projected to be a three year, $30 million-endeavor. The work will mostly be financed by selling about $27 million in working cash bonds later this year.

Other planned improvements include the replacement of four air handling units at North Campus. This is expected to cost between $5.5 million and $6.5 million.

Classrooms in the southwest corner of the North Campus building will be modernized at a projected cost of between $3 million and $3.5 million.

Accessibility improvements will be made at both campuses. At North Campus, a new elevator will be installed and an existing elevator will be upgraded. New toilet rooms will be installed at both North and South Campus.

LT officials are also considering installing a new turf field and underground water retention system at the West Field location due west of North Campus. The school is looking to partner with the Village of LaGrange on this project, which is estimated to cost between $3 million and $3.5 million.

The school is also considering building ticket booths at the entrance to Bennett Field, LT’s football stadium. It is estimated to cost $90,000 to $100,000 to build ticket booths where an existing foundation is already in place. There are no ticket booths at Bennett Field. Ticket sellers just set up a table by the parking lot and sell tickets there.