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Local

Discussions continue on what to do with Haines Middle School

St. Charles Public Library looking at use of building along with park district

St. Charles District 303 School Board members continue to discuss what to do with Haines Middle School once its closes at the end of this school year.
In 2016, the board approved a plan to upgrade Wredling Middle School, renovate Thompson Middle School and close Haines Middle School by fall 2019.
St. Charles District 303 School Board members continue to discuss what to do with Haines Middle School once its closes at the end of this school year. In 2016, the board approved a plan to upgrade Wredling Middle School, renovate Thompson Middle School and close Haines Middle School by fall 2019.

ST. CHARLES – As the St. Charles School Board contemplates what to do with Haines Middle School, St. Charles Public Library officials are proposing to use part of the building on a temporary basis as the library prepares to undergo a renovation project.

"For them to go out and rent space somewhere else would be extraordinarily costly for them," Seth Chapman, the district's assistant superintendent of business services and chief financial officer, told board members at their June 3 business services committee meeting. "They have no problems paying us and putting some costs that they would have spent elsewhere into the facility permanently, which would help reduce our costs."

Chapman told the board members that the library is interested in using the LRC area, but also the sixth grade wing for offices. They would need the space from April 2020 through August 2021, he said.

In addition, the St. Charles Park District continues to voice interest in using a portion of the campus for its programs, such as the school's gym. In 2016, the board approved a plan to upgrade Wredling Middle School, renovate Thompson Middle School and close Haines Middle School by fall 2019.

"They still remain interested in the space and accessing whatever space that we would have available," Chapman said.

Staff is recommending the building's two-story wing be razed sooner rather than later. A new entryway into the LRC would be designed after the wing is demolished, he said.

"When the library vacates in August of 2021, we will look at the sixth grade wing and do a demo there," he said. "The cost difference between demolishing the sixth grade wing with the two story wing versus what it would be a year and half, two years later, that's another piece that we can put in the discussion with the library. They might be willing to pay for that cost difference."

Board members have been studying four different options for the building, with a cost ranging from $3.7 to $4.7 million. The district's programming needs include finding space for the district's college and career center (which includes both the district's transition program and the NorthEast Academy); growing and expanding the community preschool program; creating professional learning spaces for staff, parent and community education; creating a district board room and having a unified department of instruction office along with a unified district administration office.

Board members said they would like to see continued discussions with the library and park district. Chapman said an agreement with the park district for the use of Haines Middle School could be similar to the agreement in place for the Norris Recreation Center.

Norris Recreation Center is managed by the St. Charles Park District in a cooperative effort with the school district.

"I think it would be similar to what we are doing with Norris Recreation Center," Chapman said. "We have a multi-year agreement for them to run that facility, so we would probably consider something like that."

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