Downers Grove Grade School District 58 recently celebrated the beginning of construction for Lester School’s new addition.
The project, pegged at $2.24 million, will add three classrooms, American Disability Act-compliant bathrooms and a resource space.
“We are super excited to be able to launch this project,” Superintendent Kari Cremascoli told the crowd. “It has been a long, long time in the making, and we are thrilled to celebrate the groundbreaking, here, today.”
Lester School assistant principal Katie Novosel agreed.
“I know that the community has been requesting this, being excited about this for a long time,” she said. “Now, it’s coming to fruition, so I think everybody’s just very excited.”
The Downers Grove Village Council reviewed the school district’s plans in recent months and went on to provide approval.
Downers Grove Grade School District 58 worked with its architect, Wight & Company, to develop some solutions to address Lester School’s space issues. The building in question has been at capacity for several years.
“We got some input from our staff,” Principal Carin Novak said. “The upper administration worked, as well. We cooperated with Wight [& Company] and our maintenance [department] from the District. It was a collaborative effort between everybody, but putting together the whole design, getting it to the Board of Education, getting their input, as well, [was] just collaborative all around.”
The addition will provide the Lester School community with more space. Some of the building’s students currently attend classes at Belle Aire School.
“Next year, we will get to have all Lester students at Lester School, which is very exciting,” Novosel said.
The building’s enrollment projections hover around 500 students.
“We do need some space,” Novak said. “We do need different places for small group instruction. … This is going to be such a welcomed addition for us, in terms of the space. It’s greatly needed.”
The project, slated to begin this spring, is anticipated to reach completion in time for the 2018-2019 school year.
Novak took time to give kudos to the Board of Education.
“[They] took the time to listen and explore all the different options,” she said. “We talked about how to teach the children, what our space needs were, and what different kinds of things we needed to make Lester School a great place for kids.”
Novak wanted to thank the Lester School community for their presence at school board meetings.
“[Without them,] I don’t think this project would’ve come to fruition,” she said.