GALESBURG, Illinois – Galesburg school district is moving ahead with major renovation plans for Galesburg High School. The school board is looking to update the building and add room for 7th and 8th grade students.
Craig Hillier teaches civics to freshmen at Galesburg and is ready for the school to see the $36,000,000 renovation, which he wants to see now.
“If you go into my classroom there’s three outlets for a classroom of 27 students,” says Hillier.
The school district knows the need is there, the school was built in 1958 and still has the original subway tiled walls, lights, and the same power outlets. Each student at Galesburg has a Chromebook they need to charge regularly throughout the day and teachers say there isn’t enough outlets for that.
The school board is looking to have the high school renovated next year. That means the students will have to be displaced somewhere else.
“We can’t have students in these classrooms that don’t have walls,” says Dr. John Asplund, Galesburg Superintendent.
Asplund says all 1,200 students will have to move during the construction, but they have a plan.
“One of the elementary schools we are going to be closing we are going to be busing for part of the high school transition,” Asplund explains.
The school board is currently looking at a timeline for the renovation. They could either do a complete overhaul that would displace all the students for one year, or a slower construction schedule that will keep a portion of Galesburg High School open as the rest is renovated. The latter option would double construction time to two years.
“We are leaning toward the more aggressive plan because quite honestly it’s safer and it does cost less money overall,” says Asplund.
The more aggressive plan would move the students across the street from the high school to Gale School, Rose Hoben Welch School, and portable classrooms making a separate campus for the 2020-2021 school year. Gale School will close after the renovation and Welch is currently empty.
Hillier’s students will be juniors and seniors when construction is done, but future classes will see a very different Galesburg High.
Asplund says the board is working to condense the district from 8 schools to 5 schools. The district has seen the school population cut in half over the past 30 years.