Yorkville working on ‘what we need’ for high school expansion
By Steve Lord firstname.lastname@example.org October 26, 2012 2:06PM
Updated: November 29, 2012 6:18AM
YORKVILLE — The process of shaping the planned addition to Yorkville High School will take a couple more steps in the next few days.
Architects putting together the design of the addition will meet Monday and Tuesday with high school staff members, administrators, board members and community members to look at details of the plan.
They will tweak the planned, three-phase expansion based on details suggested by those involved in the process.
The School Board’s session with the architects will be at 8 p.m. Monday in the library of the high school on Game Farm Road.
The architects already have talked with department chairmen and administrators throughout this past year, so Monday’s session will continue the process.
“This is more specific,” said Scott Wakely, Yorkville School District superintendent. “The math department has an hour, the science department … every department is going to dig in and say, ‘Here’s what we need.’ ”
It doesn’t mean that is what they’re going to get, at least not right away.
Yorkville is planning an addition in three phases that is sort of a wish list of what is needed to get the high school to the size it needs to be. But Wakely said the idea is to get the right plan, and then chip away at what the district can get.
“It’s, yes, we would like to have all of that, but it’s not feasible in this economic environment,” he said. “We’re not interested in doing a building that involves going to our community and asking for more money.”
The need is definitely there, Wakely said. Right now, there are about 1,300 students at the main high school building, which was designed to hold about 1,100. And some of the common areas, such as hallways and stairways, were “really built for 900,” the superintendent said.
The last time the high school expanded classrooms, it did not expand common areas. There are about another 400 freshmen across the street from the main high school, at the Yorkville Academy.
“Therein lies the problem,” Wakely said.
The planned addition includes:
Creating more classrooms and building bigger common areas, such as stairways and halls. It also would include expanding offices for individual departments, administration and student services.
An auditorium. Right now, Wakely said, Yorkville is about the only high school in the area without an auditorium of any kind. Students who need an auditorium are bused across town to the middle school.
Additional locker rooms and a fieldhouse.
Wakely said that at this point, the school district could raise enough money to maybe do the first phase. That would come in the form of a $7.6 million building grant from the state, and covering the remainder out of district reserves.
Just when the district could do the rest is unknown, but Wakely said there’s no doubt it will be necessary at some point.
“The growth is going to come, the subdivisions are already here,” he said. “It’s just a matter of when.”