District 200 Considers Revised, Cheaper Jefferson Preschool Designs

Architect presents new designs for program-driven Jefferson Early Childhood Center.

The Community Unit School District 200 Board of Education will consider two concepts for a new $18.3 million, 63,000-square-foot Jefferson Early Childhood Center.

Based on community feedback on the proposed new facility, architects and district staff revised designs to address residents’ concerns about traffic, green space and cost.

The new program-driven designs are less expensive than the originally proposed $29 million project, and eliminate plans for district administrative offices and the additional parking they would require. Architect Patrick Brosnan said Legat also opened the building where possible, allowing for opportunities for community use in open spaces.

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Bond counsel Bob Lewis presented financing options to the board Wednesday. The board agreed it wants to issue bonds for the entire project, which would result in about $16 to $42 added to taxpayers’ bills.

Brosnan first presented the “courtyard” concept: a building with an enclosed courtyard for school activities and separate classroom spaces with a shared walkway.

The second design followed the idea of “neighborhoods,” with one main hallway at the front of the building, along Hazelton Avenue, and three wings of classrooms with two fenced yards between them.

District 200 Superintendent Dr. Brian Harris said community feedback included concern that the new building would eliminate green space residents currently use. The new designs would move the building north, creating about two acres of open space that could be community space when not in use by the school.

Harris said he has talked with the park district about working on a design concept for a sensory playground.

The current Jefferson building serves 289 students, allowing about 91 square feet per student, Brosnan said.

The new facility could accommodate 476 kids, about 132 square foot per student, considering two-thirds of the students would have special needs, Brosnan said.  

Brosnan laid out the following schedule to board members:

  • Referendum: April 2013
  • Design: April 2013-January 2014
  • Bidding: February (?) 2014
  • Construction: March 2014-April 2015
  • Occupancy: August 2015

Board member Andy Johnson said he wants to know what design staff prefers before making a decision. Board member Joanne Coghill said the board’s decision will depend on what Jefferson staff prefers.

"I just want to make sure it's big enough, because our special ed department is growing and will continue to grow with its reputation," she said.

The board will meet to deliberate on the Jefferson plan Wednesday, Dec. 12 at Lowell Elementary School. 

View the entire design presentation on the District 200 website


  • District 200 Officials Want $18M Referendum to Rebuild Jefferson
  • Jefferson Survey Responders Like Cheapest Option for New School
  • District 200 to Survey Residents in Jefferson Preschool Plans
  • District 200 Proposes 2 Options for New Jefferson Preschool
  • New Preschool Plans the Focus of District 200 Community Forums
  • District 200 to Seek Input in Plans for a New Jefferson Preschool in Wheaton
  • District 200 Considers Jefferson Preschool Replacement Plans
Jim McMahon November 30, 2012 at 04:02 PM
"District 200" and "cheaper" are rarely synonymous. Caveat emptor


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