District 204 is Purchasing a New Operations Building

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The District 204 School Board voted to approve the purchase of a building at 1250 Shore Road in Naperville.

The 14,800 square-foot industrial building will be used as the new home of the operations and maintenance department, which has been using Wheatland School since 2007.

“The space is more useable for our needs, the warehouse is larger and has more space for maintenance to repair equipment. At Wheatland we’re doing this in carpeted areas, classrooms or hallways. Imagine working on equipment in your living room where you don’t have proper power or electric,” said Todd DePaul, director of building operations for District 204.

Moving operations and maintenance will free up space in Wheatland School for educational use. The $1.8 million dollar purchase will save money for the district within just a few years.

“Another property we looked at was a property located on Frontenac Street. The annual lease price for that property was $357,055 and within five years we would have exceeded the price so in the long run it makes sense to purchase instead of leasing a property,” said Jay Strang, chief school business official for District 204.

The funds for the building and the 4.5-acre parcel it sits on came from the sale of two plots of land, which brought almost $9 million together.

District 204 expects it could take ownership of the property by February 2019.

Also at the meeting, the board got some more information about a grant 204 received from Digital Promise, funded by the National Science Foundation.

The $300,000 computational thinking grant is meant to help kids develop skills necessary to solve complex, open-ended problems often found in modern computer-related fields like web design or coding.

“We’re trying to prepare our students for a computational world. As they enter the world of big data they may not know exactly what code to write, but hopefully they’ll know the questions to ask and empower them to make decisions based on that,” said Brian Giovanni, director of elective curriculum for District 204.

Another focus of the grant is equity. District 204 is trying to improve achievement among low-income students.

District 204 was one of only three school districts nationwide to receive the grant.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.