A rendering of the proposed science wing at Homewood-Flossmoor High School. (Provided image/DLA Architects)
Education, Local News

Flossmoor gives OK to special use amendment for H-F High School’s science-focused addition

The Flossmoor Village Board gave the green light to a planned addition at Homewood-Flossmoor High School that could start construction as soon as May.

The village board voted unanimously Monday, March 6, to approve an amendment to a special use permit that gives a go-ahead to District 233’s plan for a science lab addition. The project includes a two-story addition with a 26,150-square-foot footprint and renovations to the existing south campus building at 999 Kedzie Avenue.

A rendering of the proposed science wing at Homewood-Flossmoor High School. (Provided image/DLA Architects)
A rendering of the proposed science wing at Homewood-Flossmoor High School. (Provided image/DLA Architects)

“Over the last 5-7 years, the district has been renovating 1-2 science classrooms per year, all that while looking at what their long-term goal would be to meet their curriculum goals,” said Ryan Kelley, of DLA Architects. “We came to the conclusion that an addition would give them perfectly sized classrooms but also the collaboration space they were looking for.” 

The new facility is expected to house a new science and technology wing, including labs and classrooms, according to a report by Scott Bugner, Flossmoor’s building and zoning administrator. The addition is to be created with net zero standards, featuring environmentally friendly and sustainable practices, the installation of a geothermal well system for heating and cooling, rooftop solar panels, and a partial green roof.

Kelley said H-F will be one of only two high schools in the state with a net zero facility — a term used to describe the balancing of any greenhouse gasses emitted with those removed from the environment. The building technologies themselves and how they are achievable can be used as teaching tools, Kelley added.

“It’s a great opportunity, something we’re very excited about,” he said.

The work also will include the demolition of an existing parking lot and construction of a new lot with 50 standard and three accessible parking spaces meeting Americans with Disabilities Act standards, a new access drive, and a pedestrian walkway along the east side of the addition, according to Bugner’s report. The old garden, ZooBot space and greenhouse will all remain, as will old classrooms, according to Kelley.

Flossmoor Trustee Joni Bradley-Scott said she previously had a chance to do a virtual walkthrough of the space and was happy to see it moving forward.

“To get the actual blueprints in front of us continues to add on to the excitement that it’s coming,” she said.

Trustee Rosalind Mustafa called it a “fascinating” project that should be exciting for students and the community at large.

“The plans that have been shared with us depict it as very attentive to the environment,” she said.

Trustee George Lofton praised the design, in particular.

“It’s amazing how with all this technology with net zero and everything that will go inside the building, you’ve been able to manage … to look pretty much like the other part of the campus,” Lofton said. “That’s pretty neat from an architectural standpoint.”

Kelley added, “We wanted it to be part of the community and part of the campus and read as such.”

Flossmoor’s Plan Commission held a public hearing related to the request on Feb. 16. The commission voted unanimously to recommend the village board approve the special use permit amendment. Kelley said the project will go out to bid in April, with construction slated to start in May and run through September 2024.

“The Homewood-Flossmoor district always seeks to be a leader in the south suburbs,” Kelley said. “This would definitely set them apart from other schools.”

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