District 203 creating classroom prototype

Naperville District 203 administration building

File Photo

NAPERVILLE — Superintendent Dan Bridges said a survey of Naperville School District 203 facilities shows the schools are in good condition, so the district can tackle means to innovate classrooms for next generation learning.

During an update to the School Board on the district’s facility master plan, Bridges on Monday outlined the three phases.

The first phase, which is completed, focused getting architectural firm Wight & Co. to assess and prioritize potential projects. The second phase now in progress looks at the goals set by the district to enhance safety and security, create flexible space in the schools, and address the list of future improvements. The third phase would implement the master plan goals.

Bridges said the district is moving forward to ensure all schools have the same level of controlled access which will improve safety and security.

But it is the flexible instructional space that struck a chord with School Board members.

Bridges said the district is reevaluating the traditional classroom and library. He said the library area could be reimagined as an innovation lab.

Over the next few months, the district will create a plan and timeline for creating flexible learning spaces in all elementary, junior high and high schools.

Classrooms at Naperville Central High School, Madison Junior High, Elmwood Elementary and Prairie Elementary and the libraries at Jefferson Junior High and Beebe Elementary will test out new furnishings that will enhance flexible learning. Bridges said once the prototype is created the plan will be launched to the rest of the schools in the district.

Board member Terry Fielden said during the planning for Naperville Central the district performed a detailed study of furnishings in four to five types of classrooms.

At the time, Fielden said the furnishings at Central were somewhat unique. He said since then, he has seen more high schools and junior schools facilities that have incorporated the same furnishings. “It’s safe to say that we were trendsetters at least when we put this building together, and I would expect that to continue will as we move this forward,” Fielden said.

District administrators will continue to lay out a timeline for the overall long-term maintenance of buildings based on information gathered in the first phase.

All buildings were rate on a scale of one to four, with one being poor and in need of immediate improvement. Items given a two are considered in fair condition and should be replaced within five years. A good rating of three means improvements can be handled in six to 10 years, and a four indicates that the site or item should be placed on a general maintenance and replacement schedule.

Bridges said the most common projects that would need attention relate to temperature controls, air-handling units, cooling systems and electrical service. Other common interior projects are replacement of flooring, door hardware and ceiling tiles.

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