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District 41 approves Abraham Lincoln library renovation

GLEN ELLYN – The Glen Ellyn School District 41 Board of Education approved a renovation of the library at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School at a meeting Monday.

The renovation was greenlighted by a 4-2 vote.

It is estimated to cost $150,000 for demolition and construction, according to board documents. Other projected costs include furniture replacement not to exceed $55,000 and $30,000 for new cubbies.

The design of the new library will have a look similar to the renovated library at Hadley Junior High School. Updates will include removal of the existing computer lab, improved wall furnishings, new carpeting, new furniture and the installation of cubbies for coats and shoes.

Though various capital projects were on the agenda, the library renovation proved the most contentious, with board members and attendees raising concerns about finances and the possible need for kindergarten classrooms to inhabit the space.

District resident and board member elect Stephanie Clark read a letter from various community members urging the board to hold off on moving forward with the planned library renovation because there is a possibility the library could be reconfigured for classrooms.

Fellow resident and board member elect Kurt Buchholz agreed the district should further evaluate the library's potential as classroom space before coming to a final decision.

“We want to make sure that we don't pigeonhole ourselves,” he said. “We just don't feel like it's money well spent at this point. Hold it off for a year and see what we have.”

Board member Erica Nelson said the project was thoroughly conceived and accompanied by research, oversight and financial planning.

"There is much more context than showing up one day and saying 'Hey, let's improve the library,'“ she said. “It is a hugely utilized spaced. I personally think these are dollars well spent andit's going to the kids and it's now.”

While there was discussion of the possibility of repurposing the space and using it for more classrooms, the project was ultimately seen as a timely one.

Board member Dean Elger said the decision was an indicator of the administration's progress and ability to make improvements sooner rather than later.

“The one thing I admire about this superintendent and the administration is looking at how we can make improvements today.” he said. It's our job to make a decision and move forward.”

The renovation will begin at the end of the school year and is expected to be completed by mid-August.

Board members Drew Ellis and John Kenwood voted against the measure.

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