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Opening the new doors to learning

JFK holds open house to showcase new addition

SPRING VALLEY — The rain and thunder may have put a damper on things Thursday evening, but it certainly didn’t hold back the enthusiasm felt during the grand opening ceremony of John F. Kennedy’s new school addition.

More than 350 attendees packed into the addition’s new multi-purpose room, where they eagerly awaited to take their first tour through the new building.

Superintendent Jim Hermes talked briefly about the project construction and was followed by statements from State Rep. Frank Mautino and later on, Gov. Pat Quinn, who was delayed by the weather.

The $16 million school addition includes $12 million from Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! program and $4 million from the school district. The 30 classroom, one-story middle school addition will accommodate 648 students in fifth through eighth grades.

Hermes said the addition will positively impact students and the community for many years to come.

“The district has an obligation to be prudent with our resources, while also attaining the high standard that is expected of Spring Valley Elementary,” he said. “We are excited about the new addition, but we know our greatest accomplishment must be to continue educating students with the passion and dedication that we have always exhibited.”

Allied Design, Inc. designed and Williams Brothers Construction built the state-of-the-art, energy efficient school building. Pre-cast walls, double-pane windows, LED lighting, geo-thermal heating and cooling and skylights are just a few of the energy efficient and cost-saving measures taken by the district.

During his speech, Mautino reminisced about growing up in Spring Valley and attending the former Lincoln School, which held second to fourth grade at the time. He said the big day in students’ lives was when they had to make the transition over to the big school, JFK.

“The John F. Kennedy School will provide a brighter future and tremendous opportunities for the children of Spring Valley for generations to come,” he said. “I would like to thank Governor Quinn for providing funding for this addition.”

Before taking a tour through the new addition, Gov. Quinn explained how the addition is well worth it for teachers and students.

“We must do right by our kids and students and make sure they have 21st Century education and 21st Century facilities like this,” he said. “Everyone has talent, and we want to fulfill that talent. We don’t want any boy or girl who has the ability to do something very important when it comes to education be denied the resources and chance to fulfill their dreams.”

Quinn pointed out that $12 million is a lot of money, but it’s an investment. He said the school addition will pay dividends for generations to come.

“It’s so important we invest in the folks of Spring Valley and every other place in Illinois who have dreams and understand the vision they have for the future,” he said. “We have to give them the tools to reach those visions.”

According to the press release issued by the governor’s office, Spring Valley was among numerous school districts statewide that have received a total of $1.5 billion in Illinois Jobs Now! funding to construct new buildings or expand existing ones in order to improve educational opportunities in many communities. The school construction program is coordinated by the Illinois Capital Development Board and the Illinois State Board of Education.

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