District 200 residents will have another opportunity to weigh in on the district’s plans to rebuild Jefferson Early Childhood Center when they get their end-of-year report in the mail at the end of the month.
Seeking community feedback in plans to rebuild the outdated facility at 130 Hazelton Ave. in Wheaton, District 200 board members and staff hosted four at the school, where residents could learn what updates are needed at Jefferson and about proposed options for a new facility.
At a District 200 board meeting Wednesday night, community relations director Erica Loiacono told board members 62 residents attended the four forums, and 45 responded to an exit survey to provide feedback. Thirty-five of the 45 responders answered, “Yes,” to: “Do you think we need a new Jefferson?”
Loiacono said district staff hoped to impart a few things on the community at the forums: That early childhood education is important, and that the current facility does not meet students' needs.
She said community feedback included concern that the new building would be too large, and would eliminate green space on the property.
"It's going to be an issue," that people will want to see addressed, she said.
Wheaton resident Jeff Holaway said the plans would create a "concrete jungle" on the property .
Board member Jim Vroman said it was important to get feedback from neighbors. "It's critical, what they have to say," he said.
District 200 Superintendent Dr. Brian Harris said the feedback the district received would help with the questionnaire. He said staff and ECRA, Inc., the district's consultant conducting the surveys, are finalizing the survey questions.
"It'll be important to see if we get similar and concrete responses as we move forward," Harris said.
He added staff would begin to discuss with architects some tweaks to the building design, with consideration of feedback from the forums and where the playground would be.
The end-of-year reports, with the surveys at the end, will be mailed to residents starting Sept. 24. Residents will have until Oct. 14 complete an online survey or mail the hard copy to ECRA. ECRA will analyze the survey data and report to the board at the November board meeting, Loiacono said.
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