New Betsy Ross school design. Courtesy D91.

The District 91 school board approved the construction plan for a $3.73 million addition at Betsy Ross School, 1315 Marengo Ave., at its Dec. 12 meeting. 

The new construction will replace the portable unit behind the building that has been the temporary housing for special education, English as a Second Language instruction, small group reading intervention and some office and storage space. The Illinois State Board of Education only allows trailers at schools for a few years before they must be phased out.

The plans presented to the board moved space for those functions inside the school as well as plans for two extra classrooms, a reconfigured library, a revamped gym, and rooms for music and art. 

The project also has a renovated outdoor play space including slides and other playground equipment surrounded by low-maintenance natural landscaping and permeable pavers. The outdoor space doubles as an outdoor classroom with an outdoor blackboard. A second-story (fenced) outdoor space, a small prep kitchen and an elevator are included in the plans.

Contractor bidding will begin in February 2014 followed by the beginning of construction in March. The architects hired to oversee construction are Wight and Co.

The district will host an event to present the new building plans and answer questions from the community on Tuesday, Jan. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at Betsy Ross.

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...