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Additions planned at middle school in Vernon Hills.

Byline: Jennifer Shea Daily Herald correspondent

Hawthorn Elementary District 73 is moving ahead with plans for a nearly $10 million renovation of Hawthorn Middle School North in Vernon Hills.

The Vernon Hills-based district's board heard a presentation Tuesday from Legat Architects with details of the planned work, which includes the addition of seven classrooms and a full gymnasium and the renovation of locker rooms.

Other proposed additions include an outdoor classroom area, a collaboration space and changes to the music room.

"Due to the growth in enrollment, we have limitations in terms of space," said Abe Singh, the district's business manager. "The addition will accommodate the students we have."

Expected complete by August 2021, the $9.9 million renovation is phase two of a five-phase Educational Facilities Master Plan developed by the district. Phase one is the ongoing construction of a kindergarten center attached to the Vernon Hills Park District's Sullivan Center on Aspen Drive.

It's all funded through a $48.7 million proposal voters approved in November.

"It's been a five-year journey" to reach this point, Middle School North Principal Robert Collins said. "It's necessary because of the volume of students. Currently we use the cafeteria for gym."

School board President Robin Cleek said the school is overdue for renovations.

"This school has not been touched since it was built in the '70s," she said. "I think students will benefit from having the programming provided in an appropriate space."

Two of Cleek's three children attended the school, and she heard about the cramped quarters. But she's confident the renovations will meet the district's projected growth.

"We know this community values fine arts programs," Cleek said. "With the music program getting more space, it allows us to provide the opportunity to do band and orchestra to as many students as want to participate."

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Author:Shea, By Jennifer
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Jul 5, 2019
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