STR Partners/Niles Elementary District 71
culver school

Niles (Ill.) district ready to build $16.5 million addition at its only school

June 1, 2023
Construction at the Culver School has delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic and higher-than-expected construction costs.

Niles (Ill.) Elementary District 71 is scheduled to break ground next week on a $16.5 million expansion at Culver School.

The Niles Journal reports that the renovations and additions had been announced in early 2021, but district officials said unexpectedly high construction bids and the Covid-19 pandemic delayed the start of the project, which caused costs to rise.

When the project was announced, the projected cost was $14.5 million. Superintendent John Kosirog said the estimated cost now stands at $16.5 million.

The planned addition will have 30,000 square feet of space and will include a full-sized gym and stage, a preschool wing with two classrooms and a playground, a fine arts center with art, band, orchestra, and music classrooms, a new "learning stair" for middle schoolers, a library, two new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) classrooms, and two new full-sized, general-purpose classrooms.

Culver School is the only campus in the preK-8 district. It serves about 550 students. Construction is expected to continue through summer 2024.

"We know that construction will cause some inconveniences for our students and staff," Kosirog said. "But we are confident that the many long-term benefits of this project will make it worth it." Funds for the project come from of federal Covid relief funds, proceeds from the sale of the former South School property, and revenue resulting from the expiration of a tax-increment financing district.

The architect is STR Partners, and the construction manager is Gilbane Building Co.

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