Downers Grove Grade School District 58 administrators discussed Lester School’s space limitations and provided several potential solutions to the Board of Education during the Board’s Feb. 13 regular business meeting. After reviewing all options, the Board directed District administrators to study the feasibility of building an addition onto Lester School. If the Board pursues this addition, they would aim to complete work in time for the 2018-19 school year.

Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli shared that Lester School has served students at capacity for several years, but recent programming improvements have pushed the school beyond its limits.

“With the addition of the Optional Kindergarten Enrichment and Enhancement Program, the building now is struggling to provide for all general education spaces as well as the necessary special education, intervention and enrichment services, specials courses and core facility space needs,” Dr. Cremascoli said.

Assistant Superintendent for Business/Chief School Business Official David Bein added that the District’s recent demographic report projected that Lester’s enrollment would likely remain steady during the next several years, offering three full sections of classes at each grade level in the kindergarten through sixth grade building.

Dr. Cremascoli shared a variety of potential solutions to Lester’s space issues that have been brainstormed, including a building addition, redistricting, relocating Lester programs or grades, moving sixth grade to the middle schools, adding portables and moving all special classes onto a cart. She noted that many possible solutions were not practical nor in the best interest of students. Dr. Cremascoli, supported by central administrators and building principals, recommended the Board consider adding an addition to Lester.

Bein reported that the District would need to hire an architect to complete a high-level feasibility study to accurately gauge potential costs, options, timelines and other needs.

The Board directed the administrative team to work with an architect to complete this high-level feasibility study. The District will provide the Board an update during the Board’s March 13 regular business meeting, with additional information regarding the District’s facility needs and long-term planning scheduled for presentation during the Board’s April 24 Budget Workshop meeting.

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