Elementary School Built in 1800s to Get Modernization Upgrades

Dubois Elementary School, part of Springfield School District 186 in Springfield, Ill., will see a series of renovations start this summer meant to modernize the campus while paying respects to its 125-year history. The school, which was built in 1897, will get additional classroom space, smaller spaces intended for group work, and its first elevator.

The school’s historical entry point, a vaunted façade facing Lincoln Avenue, will remain unchanged. Construction items include a new service road for ease of dropping off and picking up students and a new main entrance at street level.

“It’s respecting our history as we move forward into the future,” said Principal Dan Ford.

According to the district’s Facilities Master Plan, other renovations include security upgrades, rebuilding the boiler building’s north wall, renovations to four bathrooms, replacing exterior doors, and upgrades to the air circulation system. According to the State Journal-Register, the school saw its last major addition more than a century ago, in 1916.

District superintendent Jennifer Gill said that the project is finally coming to fruition after “a lot of work and engagement throughout our community. We had nine community engagement sessions, asking our public what they wanted to see in our schools and also by doing an educational feasibility study, where we looked at every school and the needs they had.”

The work will come to a total of about $2.5 million and is scheduled for completion in February 2022. Funding for the project comes from a 1% sales tax approved by Sangamon County voters in 2018. The architect of record is the Farnsworth Group.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].