Springfield's new elementary school

Laketown and Hazel Dell to get a $22.6 million replacement

click to enlarge Part of plans to combine Laketown and Hazel Dell elementary schools. - DISTRICT 186 SPRINGFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS
District 186 Springfield Public Schools
Part of plans to combine Laketown and Hazel Dell elementary schools.

Two elementary schools in Springfield are to be replaced by a new school, according to plans obtained by Illinois Times. The new school would mean the shuttering of Hazel Dell and Laketown K-5 schools. Hazel Dell, at 850 W. Lake Shore Dr., was built in 1948, according to the October 2020 document. Laketown, at 1825 Lee St., was built in 1957. Both have about 165 students. The new building would be able to serve 500 students, according to the plans. Hazel Dell and Laketown are slated to be demolished. Certain jobs, such as principal, will no longer need to be duplicated. "Things like that will be reduced," said Springfield Public Schools Superintendent Jennifer Gill. She said she does not anticipate a reduction in the number of teachers.

The site for the new building is not yet decided. Gill confirmed that Melotte Morse Leonatti Parker, Ltd. is the design firm selected for the project. The plans include a budget line of more than $1.3 million for architect and engineering fees. Construction had originally been planned for April of this year to June 2022. Gill said plans to break ground have been pushed back due to the pandemic. "A brand new facility takes a long time to develop," she said. "It does depend on the land that you get, and how much prep needs to go into the land." Gill said multiple sites are being considered. A potential option is property owned by H.D. Smith Co. near its former offices at 3063 Fiat Ave. Gill said the land is already cleared and the property is well located.

Part of the $22,628,775 projected budget would be around $500,000 to demolish both schools. The new elementary school is slated to be two stories tall and nearly 60,000 square feet, with a regulation-size gym, auditorium and separate classroom space to teach reading, literacy and English as a second language. "We're just at the preliminary stages of letting the designers do their work," Gill said.

Gill said one priority of the facilities master plan for buildings throughout District 186 over the coming years is to get rid of about 25 mobile units. "For instance, when you go to Hazel Dell now, there's a series of five mobile units that students have to walk inside and outside to get to." Gill said Hazel Dell and Laketown are the only elementary schools slated for consolidation so far, but others, including Sandburg, Fairview and Butler, have additions being built that will eliminate the need for the mobile units.

Contact Rachel Otwell at rotwell@illinoistimes.com.

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