The Homewood District 153 school board agreed to plan for long-term needs in its three schools and gave the green light to a short-term remodeling job at Churchill School in the interim.
Classrooms surround an open space in Wing 3 of the Churchill building and accelerated math programs are now being conducted in that open space, said Superintendent Dale Mitchell.
But he acknowledged that it’s been difficult to work in an open area. The plan is to make definitive spaces out of that open area to give teachers additional space for math sessions. The district has about $65,000 in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) money paid out by the Village of Homewood that will cover the cost, he said.
The board took the action May 14 and agreed to hire Wight & Co. to conduct a long term needs study. Wight has worked with the district on other remodeling plans.
“It’s exciting to take space and think about what it can be,” said Shelly Marks, school board president.
Willow School, serving prekindergarten to second grade, is running out of room, and Churchill School, serving third, fourth and fifth graders, is nearing capacity.
James Hart School has some available space. In 2016, the district closed Millennium School, which then served fifth and sixth graders. Millennium School was on the west side of the building and Hart was on the east side of the building at 183rd and Aberdeen. Hart, now serving sixth, seventh and eighth graders, moved into most of the space vacated by Millennium School, but there is still some room to grow.
The board also agreed to hire Larry Heidemann to help with long-range financial planning. He has worked with the district twice before. Mitchell said the board believes it has been making excellent financial decisions, but an outside review can confirm the strategies are in place and help the board and administration address any issues that may arise from his findings.