Evergreen Park High School recently installed a $10 million addition to the school and a possible $3.5 million revamp of the school’s auditorium is being discussed by school board officials.
And more upgrades and improvements are on the way.
Evergreen Park Community High School officials met with Evergreen Park Elementary School board members Sept. 10 to discuss a variety of topics.
Evergreen Park High School is close to paying off the new roof, which came with a $1 million price tag. School officials also mentioned other projects such as installing new doors for safety, a 2-year locker replacement program, additional security cameras and renovating the auditorium.
School officials spent $350,000 to remove an abundance of asbestos from the auditorium. After removing the harmful substance school officials want to spend an additional $3.5 million to renovate the space.
“We started getting bids and after we spent the money to remove the asbestos we are now discussing doing something nice with the space,” Evergreen Park High School President Chris Trzeciaksaid. “We have the funds in our budget and renovating the space would not put a tax burden on the taxpayers.”
Also discussed was student success and student preparedness to move from middle school to high school.
“There is always a certain amount of kids who want to get college credit or take advanced courses,” Trzeciak said. “Our new STEM labs were built for students who want to take advanced placement classes such as AP biology, chemistry or statistics.”
School board officials discussed the skippers program, which allows for students in middle school to take high school level courses and enter the high school with an elective or core class already completed. The program has shown immense success but was criticized by some administrators.
“The sole purpose of the skippers program is to prepare students for high school and some students are being hurt by the skippers program because they are getting exposure but not mastery in core courses,” said Evergreen Park High School Superintendent Beth Hart.
In addition to the skippers program Evergreen officials praised teachers who helped to implement a new online learning program, which allows students to work at their own pace. The program is in collaboration with Vanderbilt University and allows students to take advanced courses at the college level.
“Our online classes offer students a chance to take classes that we do not offer and would cost a significant amount of money to hire a teacher for a highly specialized class,” Hart said. “The online courses offer those students who are gifted and more advanced students an opportunity to take an advanced course for a fraction of the cost.”
Evergreen Park High School also offers students an opportunity to take classes at Moraine Valley Community College. Students at the junior or senior level are able to take classes in highly specialized programs such as nursing, information technology or preparing to become an EMT.
“We are in a consortium of schools whose kids are able to take classes to become a CNA or EMT at Moraine Valley,” Hart said. “One of the issues is that we only have 2-3 spots in this program and it costs the kids $1,500 plus they have to figure out how to get to Moraine each week.”
Evergreen Park High School’s partnership with Moraine Valley is limited to students who have proved academic proficiency and plan to take the state certification test to become a working professional in their area of study.