Public Gets Early Look at Renovation Plans for Elementary Schools

State Rep. Camille Y. Lilly (D-78) talks with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Leah Gauthier during the Nov. 1 construction update session at John Mills Elementary School.

State Rep. Camille Y. Lilly (left) talks with District 401 Superintendent of Schools Dr. Leah Gauthier during the Nov. 1 construction update session at John Mills Elementary School. (D401 photo by Dave Porreca)

Open spaces for learning, state-of-the-art interior design and new life-safety infrastructure were among the highlights discussed at two community update sessions on the construction projects planned for District 401's elementary schools, Elmwood and John Mills.

The "sneak peek" sessions took place Oct. 27 at Elmwood and Nov. 1 at John Mills.

Attendees received overview presentations from District officials, who walked audience members through the floor plans, showed videos and gave guided tours of the buildings.

One of the attendees at the John Mills session was State. Rep. Camille Y. Lilly (D-78), who expressed her enthusiasm for the projects, as well as her appreciation for the District's efforts to keep its stakeholders informed.

"Thank you for the process," Rep. Lilly said as she spoke with District administrators at the conclusion of the John Mills event.

"You're really keeping education at the forefront. I've said education should be our No. 1 priority in our state as we do our budget. If we sharpen the mind, we sharpen the future. I appreciate your commitment. It makes a difference, so thank you."

Camille Lilly with District 401 administrators.

PHOTO: State Rep. Camille Y. Lilly (D-78), third from right, was among those who attended the John Mills update on Nov. 1. Joining her in the photo are, from left, Elmwood Assistant Principal Stephanie Hagins, John Mills Principal Frank Kuzniewski, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Leah Gauthier, Assistant Superintendent for Business, Finance & Operations James Jennings and John Mills Assistant Principal Natalia Gomez. (D401 photo by Dave Porreca)

Years in the Making

In March 2020, Elmwood Park voters approved a $55 million bond issue to renovate and add to Elmwood Elementary School and John Mills Elementary School.

"The District is very excited to begin the addition and renovation projects at our two elementary schools," said Mr. James Jennings, Assistant Superintendent for Business, Finance & Operations.

"In 2019 the District presented several options to the community and asked for input from all stakeholders," he continued. "The results from the feedback was to replace the current plumbing, electrical and other life safety items, update the interior throughout the current building and to put an addition on both elementary schools."

The projects are being handled by DLA Architects, Ltd., and International Contractors, Inc., the same two firms responsible for the renovation and expansion of Elm Middle School as well as the science wing at Elmwood Park High School.

DLA and ICI also worked together on the previous expansion and remodeling of the south end of Elmwood Elementary.

"It is beyond exciting that we are about to start the construction process to provide an updated learning environment for our community," said Dr. Leah Gauthier, Superintendent of Schools. "We know our students will be able to grow and thrive in these spaces for years to come."

Dr. Gauthier points out changes planned for John Mills School

PHOTO: Dr. Leah Gauthier, District 401 Superintendent of Schools, points out some of the changes planned for John Mills Elementary during the Nov. 1 update at the school. A similar session took place at Elmwood Elementary on Oct. 27. (D401 photo by Dave Porreca)

Unveiling the Plans

In the months since the 2020 bond referendum passed, the elementary school addition and renovation projects have been in the planning stage. Now, with the two public sessions completed at Elmwood and John Mills, the plans have been unveiled.

The District is looking forward to construction beginning in April 2022, with the conclusion of the projects scheduled for August 2024.

For a more detailed look at the projects, scroll down this page for update videos and floor plans, or use these links for quick access:

Additional updates will be posted in the Buildings & Grounds and Business, Finance & Operations sections of the District 401 website throughout the duration of the projects.

Elmwood Project Update Video

John Mills Project Update Video

Elmwood Project Floor Plans

EW plans

EW floor plans

John Mills Project Floor Plans

JM floor plans

JM floor plans

JM floor plans

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