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Culver School expansion proceeding on schedule

The anticipated expansion of Culver School is moving closer to reality.

Niles District 71 officials say construction bids are being accepted this month, with an expected groundbreaking slated for next spring. In order to add more classrooms, the original projected cost has risen from $14 million to $16 million, according to Supt. John Kosirog. He said that an expected $1.5 million from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Relief (ESSER) Fund would cover most of that cost increase.

“We are pleased to be able to use the unexpected federal funding to support the addition project. The extra classroom space and enhanced ventilation system will help ensure that our facility will continue meet the needs of our students and community,” said Dr. Kosirog.

The project includes a two-story addition to the southwest corner of the building at 6901 W. Oakton in Niles. It would add 30,000 square feet to the existing 100,000 square feet, while renovating an additional 12,000 square feet inside.

The project will be paid for from a combination of additional federal revenue, district fund balances, and new property taxes resulting from the expiration of a tax-increment financing (TIF) district. The project will not increase property taxes or require a referendum.

STR Partners of Chicago is the architect on the project, and Gilbane Building Co. of Rhode Island and Chicago will manage construction.

Plans call for the addition to provide music rooms, an orchestra room, a new combination gym and fine arts stage space, two new state-of-the-art STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) classrooms and an outdoor green roof. The added space also will allow for reconfiguration to better suit the needs of students and families. The existing library will be remodeled, and current music and band rooms on the west side of the building will be converted into early childhood classrooms that will have a separate entrance and dedicated outdoor play space for the young children.

Construction is set to begin next spring, with completion anticipated before the beginning of school in fall 2023.