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DOLTON SCHOOL DISTRICT 149 SPARES THE LOCAL COMMUNITY LOSS OF A NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL

8/9/2017, noon | Updated on 8/9/2017, noon
Caroline Sibley Elementary School, located in Calumet City, will welcome its students when the new school year begins on August ...
Dolton School District 149 has demolished only a single wing of one of its five elementary schools, sparing the local community the loss of a neighborhood school.

DOLTON SCHOOL DISTRICT 149 SPARES THE LOCAL COMMUNITY LOSS OF A NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL

(Calumet City, IL) – South suburban school district Dolton 149 officials witnessed the pain suffered by Chicago neighborhoods during that city’s 2013, 50-school closure effort and sought a different solution to its own declining school enrollment by demolishing only a single wing of one of its five elementary schools, sparing the local community the loss of a neighborhood school.

Caroline Sibley Elementary School, located in Calumet City, will welcome its students when the new school year begins on August 21 with a newly landscaped green space where its north wing stood only a few weeks ago.

Since 2012, Dolton 149 had seen its student population at the K-6 facility, located

at 1550 Sibley Boulevard, drop from 793 students to 700 in 20 16, prompting district

officials to draft a new physical plant strategy that minimized cost, managed its reduced student body, and yet maintained a neighborhood school, according to Superintendent Dr. Shelly Davis-Jones.

“We made a commitment to responsibly address the declining enrollment at Caroline

Sibley while maintaining our commitment to the parents and children of the community

that Sibley would remain as a neighborhood anchor,” said Dr. Davis-Jones. “On August 21,

we will welcome our Sibley students back to their neighborhood school – as promised.”

While reconfiguring the entire building would have cost $1.5 million, the current

project is costing the district $500,000 – $300,000 for the demolition and $200,000 for campus improvements. In addition to installing landscaped green space, the school ’s asphalt play area is getting its first renovation in 30-years; a safe ty-sidewalk is being

installed to improve student access to school buses; and asbestos is being removed.

Additionally, existing school landscaping – rose bushes, grasses, and other shrubbery –

have been salvaged and replanted by Dolton 149 graduates through the district’s summer

youth work program.

“Our Sibley students are returning to an improved and a beautified school campus on

August 21,” said Dr. Davis-Jones. “Moreover, we’re on-time and on-budget with the

project.” The work is slated to be complete by August 15.

“The district’s strategy at Sibley saves the district money and serves the best interests

of our students and families by preserving their neighborhood school,” said Dolton 149

school board President Darlene Gray Everett.

“I think that the Superintendent Dr. Davis- Jones and her leadership team have done an

excellent job.”