In a letter sent to District 65 families Thursday evening, Superintendent Devon Horton announced that district leaders and architects from Cordogan Clark will hold a community meeting to provide updates on the new 5th Ward school development at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 13 at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St.

The design firm and district administrators “are zeroing in on a concept of what our new school might look like,” Horton said, and they plan to present some of the details of that concept to residents at the meeting.

“At this meeting, preliminary floor plan layouts will be shared that include labeled interior spaces,” he added. “Exterior elevations studies are starting to take form as architects move forward with shaping the aesthetics of the school. The team will also present site amenities currently being planned.”

View of Foster Field from the corner of Simpson Street and Dewey Avenue, where District 65 plans to build a $40 million school. Credit: Duncan Agnew

The gathering will present the first opportunity for students, parents and community members to see potential designs for the building itself. In December, city and district officials held a meeting that drew hundreds of attendees who discussed ideas for the Foster Field site and ways to preserve outdoor recreational space while maintaining a community center and building a large new school in the area.

Initially, the city and District 65 planned to coordinate the design for the campus together so that Fleetwood-Jourdain could be upgraded or rebuilt simultaneously to give the school the space it needs. But after strong criticism from residents about the idea of moving or demolishing the community center, the school district forged ahead with the school design plans while the city paused the process for Fleetwood.

“We recognize the importance of returning a school to Evanston’s 5th Ward community and ensuring our students have access to a neighborhood school with high quality educational programming and services,” Horton wrote in his Thursday note. “We are excited about next steps and further engaging our community as we work to build a new school that everyone can be proud of.”

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Duncan Agnew

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...

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