Community Workshops on School Facilities Scheduled in November
On Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at a Shorewood School District Board of Education meeting, the School Board received the findings of a recent assessment of all district facilities. The District engaged Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA) in May 2016 to complete a comprehensive facilities assessment that includes architectural and building systems review, accessibility, building capacity and utilization studies, and analyzing how existing spaces support teaching and learning approaches today and into the future.
As summarized and presented by the project team from EUA, the extensive report identifies professional observations to inform future facilities planning. Due to the age and historic nature of the Shorewood's schools, there are some common findings across all buildings. The single most repeated finding throughout all facilities was the lack of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Many restrooms, classrooms, and other areas are not ADA accessible which is common in buildings built early in the 1900's. Furthermore, due to the age of many of the buildings, many architectural and building systems have become inefficient or are approaching the end of their useful life expectancy.
The assessment found that Shorewood High School and Shorewood Intermediate School are slightly under student capacity, whereas both Lake Bluff and Atwater Elementary schools are over capacity based on current building layouts. However, student capacity at all schools could potentially increase if the use of specific rooms were further maximized. It was also noted that all schools lack flexible learning spaces and technology infrastructure could be improved to better support existing and future programming for students at all grade levels.
EUA was careful to consider the District's and the community's commitment to historic preservation as an essential element when conducting the Facilities Assessment. These observations align with the District's 2016-2017 Strategic Plan of Modernizing Historic Facilities, specifically the vision to "provide safe, healthy and efficiently operated school facilities, equipped for 21st century learning, while honoring the history of our buildings."
After the completion of the Facilities Assessment, district stakeholders were informed on the findings and began to discuss priorities for moving forward. On Saturday, November 12 from 12:00pm – 2:00pm at Atwater Elementary and Wednesday, November 16 from 6:30pm – 8:30pm at Lake Bluff Elementary, the District hosted two identical Community Workshops on the findings of the Facility Assessment to further look at developing a Long-Term Facilities Master Plan for the Shorewood School District.