BLOOMINGDALE – After years of planning and nine months of construction, Community Consolidated School District 93 hosted the ribbon-cutting ceremony for its nearly $7 million new Early Childhood Center on Tuesday.
“This is a wonderful state of the art school of the future,” Superintendent William Shields said.
The center, at 280 Old Gary Ave., Bloomingdale, incorporates a 14,000-square-foot addition with the former 10,000-square-foot district central office. District officials say the facility is environmentally friendly and educationally advanced.
On Thursday, the center opened to about 180 3 to 5-year-old preschoolers.
At full capacity, the center will facilitate 225 children residing in areas of Carol Stream, Bloomingdale, Hanover Park and Bartlett.
The process to fund the project began in 2002, when District 93 applied for the Illinois School Construction Program Grant and was awarded $1.9 million shortly thereafter. However, the state was unable to provide the grant money until 2010, when the funds’ eventual availability allowed the project to move forward.
According to District 93 Community Relations Coordinator Ryan McPherrin, additional funds were provided by federal, state and local grants, the sale of working cash bonds and district reserves.
When bids for construction came in higher than anticipated at $7.65 million, the District 93 Board of Education eliminated some high cost features, lowering the expense to $6.76 million, while keeping the facility environmentally conscious.
Green features include geothermal heating and cooling, super-insulated walls and roof, a permeable paver parking lot, low maintenance hygienic floors and the use of recycled construction materials from the former building, all of which made the center eligible for Leadership In Energy and Environmental Design certification.
Interactive hallways featuring a Smart Board, nooks for reading, socializing and group instruction, a multipurpose motor room for students to participate in gross motor activities and physical therapy and access to lap top computers are among the learning components offered by the new facility.
Relocating the district’s preschool program to the center also affects kindergarten through fifth grade students in the two district schools that previously housed a portion of the program. The now-empty classrooms will be dedicated to art, music, English Language Learning, bilingual and special education classes.
The central location is beneficial for staff, as well.
“All of our staff is in one building and that allows for more effective collaboration,” board president Tony Cicero said.