• CHSD170 Breaks Ground for Its New Middle School

    The state-of-the-art school is scheduled to open in time for the 2020-21 school year.

    The Board of Education, administration, and staff of Chicago Heights School District 170 recently welcomed community, business, education, and civic leaders to the groundbreaking ceremony for the district's new middle school which will be located in Bloom Plaza and is scheduled to open its doors at the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

    "We are so proud and excited to finally see all of the hard work by so many individuals become a realization," said Tom Amadio, CHSD170's Superintendent.

    "The satisfaction that comes with providing our community a middle school that equals the very best in the nation is immeasurable," he said.

    School District 170 secured funding for the new building and renovations to existing schools through a Qualified School Construction Bond (QSCB) from the United States Department of the Treasury.

    As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the QSCB Program allows school districts to borrow money at a nominal zero percent rate to support the construction, rehabilitation, or repair of public school facilities.

    Funding also may be used for the renovation and equipping of schools and the district will use some of the grant monies to improve existing facilities.

    Planera Architects designed the approximately 35-million dollar, 150,000 square-foot building. Site contractors include general contractor Chicago Heights Construction, plumbing contractor Reichelt Plumbing, HVAC contractor Quality Control Systems, electrical contractor Linear Electric, and equipment contractor Larson equipment.

    The construction of the school is the direct result of a concerted effort by School District 170 and the Bloom Township High School District 206 Board of Education and administration and benefitted from the invaluable assistance of Chicago Heights Mayor David Gonzalez.
    “The District’s construction of the new middle school and the renovations to our neighborhood schools are an investment in our children as well as future generations of learners,” said Gonzalez.
    “Quality education provides access and opportunity; schools have the power to transform neighborhoods and impact local economic development in meaningful ways. The construction and neighborhood school renovations are projects that will create opportunities and benefit our residents and the city as a whole.”

    Plans for the new school have been in the works for nearly a decade. During that period of time, District 170 worked closely with educational facilities experts from Harvard University and with educators and school districts from such diverse locales as India, Australia, California, and Montana.

    The new school is projected to accommodate nearly 1,000 sixth- through eighth-grade students in a state-of-the-art pod centric educational setting specifically designed to enhance the learning environment and maximize the students' educational experience.

    In addition to expanded classroom space, the school also will provide students with areas for athletic, music, performance, and various elective and vocational educational activities.

    A primary goal of the 21st Century learning environment is to create a school that will provide students with an atmosphere of collaborative learning that stresses relationships and teamwork, areas vitally important to achieving success in the modern workplace.

    "We are going to rethink, reimagine, and rebuild a school environment that instills in students the ability to solve problems and work effectively in the career settings of the modern world," Amadio said.