DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — The Decatur Public School board has voted to extend the lease agreement on the modular units for Dennis Lab School for three years.
Director of Buildings and Grounds Kent Metzger said the board initially agreed on a one-year extension but decided to add two more to save money.
“Our Chief Operating Officer, he took the opportunity to go ahead and kind of negotiate ahead of time with the vendor to see if maybe there was some preferential pricing if we wanted to extend that lease to two, three or more years,” Metzger said.
Students were relocated to the school near Meadow Terrace Place after the Kaleidoscope and Mosaic buildings of Dennis were shut down in June. The 100-year-old buildings were not safe for students or faculty to be inside.
Principal Kamie Meader said the merging of two campuses into one wasn’t easy. Instruction didn’t start on time and only began after Labor Day. But students do enjoy improvements such as updated classrooms, whiteboards and a singular place for all to teach and learn.
“It’s been a process, closing down two buildings, moving everything into one building, finding space for about 560 kids and staff,” Meader said. “And making sure I’m very much a servant leader trying to make sure every staff member gets what they’re needing.”
Decatur parents said they are excited that their children will continue having a space where they are all together. Tori Canary in particular said having two children at both the Kaleidoscope and Mosaic buildings was kind of difficult and having them together is a stress reliever.
“It was hard to know who to reach out to sometimes when one child had an issue,” she said. “It was frustrating because you’d have to go to one person in one building and then another person in another building. Some of the teachers weren’t the same.”
Canary hopes parents can be happy while the new school is being built.
“I think that the modules aren’t anything that parents were envisioning that they were because they are so much nicer than what I was envisioning,” Canary said. “And I’m hoping that other parents and I think there are a lot of parents that will be happy their kids are all in one building.”
Metzger said there is no timeline yet on construction at the Kaleidoscope and Mosaic buildings. Meader said their are still some adjustments that everyone is getting used to, one of them being cold weather. But she said that whatever challenges they have, Dennis will face them together.