Daily Star photo/CRAIG HAUPERT Eastside Connections volunteer Greg O’Toole is pictured in the second floor of the school, which is being renovated.

Archived Story

Eastside in line for makeover

Published 6:24pm Friday, March 16, 2012

When Eastside Connections School opened its doors to students last fall as Niles’ first magnet school, classroom space was limited to just the first floor of the two-story building.

Although the second floor remains largely unused today, Niles Supt. Richard Weigel said he expects two classrooms and a multi-purpose room will be ready for use on the second floor by the start of next school year.

Cable service provider Comcast will play a large role in getting the classrooms ready.

Greg Gomolka, government affairs manager for Comcast, said Eastside was selected as a project for Comcast’s annual day of volunteering — Comcast Cares Day — on April 21.

More than 200 volunteers are expected to help out with renovations at Eastside that day. Comcast will provide supplies and take care of all the expenses for the work done on April 21.

“The purpose of Comcast Cares Day is to encourage volunteering and give our employees an opportunity to get to know the community better,” Gomolka said.

Anyone can join in the volunteer effort, but Gomolka asks those interested in helping to register by calling (847) 585-6552. Food and T-shirts will be provided for volunteers.

“In times like this it is a really cool thing when a company steps up and says ‘here’s what I can do to help you,’” said Tom Skarbek, Niles school district finance director. “We will probably get done in one day what would’ve taken two to three months.”

Skarbek said volunteer work would likely consist of cleaning, scraping, painting and removing ceiling tiles.

Of the 14 rooms on Eastside’s second floor, only one is currently being used. The rest of the rooms need varying amounts of repair work before they are ready for use.

If renovations go as planned, a fifth grade class and sixth grade class will be moved to the second floor next year. A third renovated room would be used as a community room or multi-purpose room.

Eastside is currently a kindergarten through fifth grade building, but school officials hope to eventually have two classes each kindergarten through eighth grade.

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