By Eric Althoff
SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—Grant Middle School in Springfield broke ground at the beginning of May on improvements to the school’s campus. According to the State Journal-Register, the $5 million upgrade will add new classrooms, a teachers lounge, additional offices and increase the size of the campus’s dining and cafeteria space—which can then also double as an event and gathering space. An outdoor dining commons will also be added, allowing students and faculty to enjoy dining al fresco at the end of Central Illinois’ punishing winters.
Additionally, a new elevator is being installed to make second-floor spaces fully handicap-accessible.
The addition will also serve as an after-hours single-entry point for the school. From there, students, faculty and parents can gain entry to the cafeteria and patio, as well as the school’s gymnasium from a single point of ingress.
The Journal-Register reported that Superintendent Jennifer Gill, who attended the ceremonial groundbreaking, is herself an alum of Grant. She was joined by both current and former principals at Grant for the event.
The additions and improvements are being funded by a sales tax approved by Sangamon County voters in 2018. Other monies from that same fund will go toward updating other school buildings throughout the county in the years to come, according to the Journal-Register.
Architect Melotte, Morse, Leonatti, Parker, Ltd. is working on the improvements to Grant Middle School in conjunction with general contractor Johnco Construction, both of which are based in Illinois.
The work at Grant is anticipated to be completed sometime in the middle to end of 2022.
Also in the district, plans are being drawn up for a new elementary school and high school, as well as improvements to a nearby athletic stadium, according to the Journal-Register.
According to the district’s website, Springfield Public Schools services over 23,000 students at 35 elementary schools, nine middle schools, five high schools as well as various other educational facilities in Sangamon County.