Administration considers East building expansion

Julia Ellis ‘19 and the majority of students at Stevenson walk from class to class travelling from one building to the next. With a campus already covering a full 76 acres, Stevenson’s administration proposes plans to further enlarge its school grounds by extending the East building facility due to increasing enrollment rates.

For this school year, there are currently 4,137 students enrolled at Stevenson. According to Jim Conrey, the school’s public information coordinator, Stevenson officials expect enrollment to reach 4,300 by the 2019-20 school year, and possibly 4,500 by 2025.

Several factors are responsible for these rising numbers. Among these, two of the more prominent ones include new construction of housing units on district boundaries and an increase in homes turning over due to higher property values. Along with this, Stevenson’s reputation for success is making it an attractive destination for families to relocate, says Sean Carney, assistant superintendent of business services.

Due to the growing student population, Stevenson officials are considering additional construction.

“We currently have 193 classrooms in the school, and they are being used on average for 6.5 periods each day,” Conrey said. “We project that with the enrollment increases, we will need an additional 17-24 classrooms.”

In fact, Stevenson experienced a decrease in classroom space within the past decade. This is due to the science classroom renovations, now that each science lab is equal to one and a half classrooms.

Additionally, Stevenson’s withdrawal from the Special Education Department of Lake County has required the school to dedicate a significant portion of rooms for those with special needs whilst modifying the space overall.

Regardless, expansion plans must be ratified by the District 125 Board of Education.
The Board’s decision will then allow financial plans and architectural designs to be determined by February 2017.

For Ellis, the expansion plan is something to look forward to. Even as a student, she recognizes the various perks that may come along with an increase in space.

“I really hope to see a learning center that is similar to the ILC,” Ellis said. “In other words, more rooms within it and more space to work. It’s hard to travel to the other building and back in one study hall period, so having one in each building would be insanely beneficial.”

All in all, Stevenson officials strive to create the perfect learning environment for their students.

David Weisberg, a member of the board of education, describes this ideal learning environment as one with big rooms to accommodate today’s learning methods, common areas for students, and large hallways to allow easy movement.

“The idea here is to do what’s best for the kids,” Weisberg said. “Providing the best possible learning environment is the way to go. In this case, that speaks clearly to building appropriate capacity.”