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Local

Thompson Middle School project nearing completion; open house set for Aug. 20

Open house to be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 20

St. Charles School District 303 will hold a community open house from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 20 at the newly remodeled Thompson Middle School, 705 W. Main St., St. Charles.
St. Charles School District 303 will hold a community open house from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 20 at the newly remodeled Thompson Middle School, 705 W. Main St., St. Charles.

ST. CHARLES – A two-year project to renovate Thompson Middle School is nearing completion.

The district hopes to take occupancy of the building by July 27, St. Charles District 303 Superintendent Jason Pearson told school board members at their July 8 meeting. Less than ideal weather conditions the past few months have been a factor in the project’s completion.

“The weather has not been cooperative and that is affecting work on the exterior,” Pearson said.

In 2016, the board approved a plan to upgrade Wredling Middle School, renovate Thompson Middle School and close Haines Middle School by fall 2019. The renovation project, which began in the summer of 2017, added air-conditioning to the school along with 31 new classrooms, 11 new science labs, a new auxiliary gym, an expanded cafeteria and a new track and field area.

The project also includes a newly constructed bus drop-off and pickup area behind the school, which is designed to improve traffic flow on Indiana and Seventh streets.

A community open house will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 20 at Thompson Middle School, 705 W. Main St., St. Charles.

After a short ceremony at 5:30 p.m., eighth-grade students from the district’s Where Everyone Belongs program will conduct tours of the new facility. The open house will feature student performances, and historical artifacts will be on display.

The district will host a neighborhood barbecue next month for those living near the school as a way to thank them for what they had to endure during the project, including construction dust.

The St. Charles school board is trying to get more information about what it would cost to repurpose the now closed Haines Middle School. At their June 10 meeting, board members voted 6-1 to direct ATS&R to provide architectural and engineering services for the project. The work will include alterations associated with the temporary accommodation of the St. Charles Public Library and the permanent accommodation of district offices, the district’s transition program and the NorthEast Academy. In addition, the St. Charles Park District proposes to use space in the building’s gym along with the band, choir and orchestra areas.

“For the district to really be able to move forward in understanding the cost of the sharing of the facility that we have proposed with the library as well as the park district, we’re going to need some of these documents developed,” Pearson told board members. “We have to understand the cost differential between the demolition costs over a period of time if we phase in the building. We need to understand what the costs would be for electrical upgrades. We need to understand what the cost would be for accessibility upgrades. We need to understand what the costs would be for the improvement to the restroom facilities, which the park district is interested in sharing those costs or paying those costs as they move into that portion of the building.”

Much of the work is expected to be done by the board’s July 29 business services committee meeting, he had said.

St. Charles Public Library officials are proposing to use part of the building on a temporary basis as the library prepares to undergo a renovation project. The $18.6 million renovation project will include two new meeting rooms as well as expanded parking, accessible elevators for all floors, a dedicated teen space and a terraced garden.

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