Construction continues across Niles district

Published 8:34 am Monday, February 27, 2017

In the nearly two years since the community supported the bond referendum that Niles Community Schools put forth, much has been accomplished for the improvement of our classrooms and district infrastructure.
As phase one construction efforts near completion and others just underway, I would like to provide a brief update on our Niles 2020 initiatives.
I’m pleased to report that while there have been challenges and some unexpected twists and turns along the way, including the saturation of construction work in the area, we are still on time and on budget. With the high cost of construction throughout the region, primarily due to the high demand for quality construction companies to tackle existing projects, we have had to scale back on the original initiatives.
However, we have been working tirelessly with our project partners to get the most for the community’s investment.
As many of you know, construction began at Howard–Ellis Elementary and Ring Lardner Middle School last spring. These schools were selected to begin first due to the new construction and detailed phasing that was required at each site. While much of the work at these schools has been completed behind the walls and above the ceilings in renovation areas, new learning environments have also been introduced with additions that will promote a positive learning atmosphere for our students.
As we enter the final phase for the construction projects at Howard-Ellis and Ring Lardner, I’d like to commend the students, family and staff members for handling the inconveniences typical in such matters in stride.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t thank our construction partners, who were committed to limiting the level of distractions during the project and delivered on their promise. Both schools were transformed with minimal impact on our school community.
The structural and infrastructural changes made at Howard–Ellis and Ring Lardner, as well as the rest of the schools scheduled for improvements as part of the bond, are critical to our ability to provide the community’s children with the highest quality education they deserve.
In the coming weeks, the Niles community will begin to see improvements taking place at Oak Manor, Ballard and Niles High School. Shortly thereafter, work will begin at Eastside in late spring, while work at Northside Child Development Center and Southside School is slated to commence in 2018.
The last two years have been filled with excitement across Niles Community Schools and it has been extremely rewarding to see the hard work of so many come to life. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our community and for that I am grateful.
Because of your commitment to the children that I and my fellow educators across the district are privileged to serve, we are working toward improving the learning environment for all students in Niles.

Dr. Dan Applegate is superintendent at Niles Community Schools.