Proviso Math and Science Academy (PMSA) is one step away from beginning the $2.4 million project to renovate the parking lot and outside area surrounding the campus. In a Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) meeting held June 11, the board voted unanimously to approve the project, which now needs final consent from the village council. It will go before the council on June 22.

The meeting, a necessary and legal component of which was an opportunity for public comment, was held in-person at village hall while broadcast remotely, allowing anyone who wanted to witness or speak at the meeting opportunity to do so in-person or via Zoom.

Only one concern was raised, by Julie Sieracki, a representative from Currie Motors, the car dealership that neighbors the PMSA property to the east. Although she said Currie Motors has no issue with the plan in concept and wants to be a good neighbor, there is concern of how close the proposed outdoor recreation field will be to the dealership’s property.

Mark Joliceur responded that the fence is along the property line, and as is typical for ball fields, there’s often “overrun,” meaning a minimum of five or 10 feet of space at the end line of the field to give players more room before they’d reach the fence.

Steve Glinke, who oversees zoning for the village as the director of public health and safety, said during the meeting he would follow up with the dealership to answer questions about setback.

The project includes substantial changes to the parking lot and outside areas of the PMSA campus, namely:

  • Reconfiguring the parking lot and rerouting traffic onsite to alleviate congestion and create a safer environment
  • Creating fenced-off outdoor sports fields for physical education and extra-curricular use
  • Improving stormwater management through a significant reduction of impermeable surfaces on-site
  • Landscaping

The fenced off sports field will be on the far east part of the property, buffered from Roosevelt Road by a proposed new auxiliary parking lot and abutted by two fenced in parking lots. The new field will provide a place for outdoor activity without necessitating students crossing Roosevelt Road to use the forest preserve grounds across the street.

Traffic within the parking lot, which was originally constructed to accommodate a medical office facility, hasn’t been effective for a high school. The main drop-off area has created traffic congestion in the parking lot during arrival and dismissal, which ultimately backs up onto First Avenue. The new plan will reroute on-site traffic.

This will require the reduction of parking spaces from 364 to 302, including 174 dedicated student spaces, 65 staff spaces and an additional 63 spaces.

The new area dedicated for student parking will be created with permeable pavers for better stormwater management, which will also be provided through green space and landscaping.

Glinke said subject to receipt of final documents from the petitioner, if the village council votes to approve the project “it will be shovel-ready by June 23.”