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Groundbreaking of New Elementary School Kicks Off City Revitalization Plan

Project marks a new path of "enriched learning, growth and community development"

Venice Community Unit School District 3 recently held an event to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new elementary school that marks a larger revitalization plan for the city. The new school in Venice, Illinois provides a new home for 90+ students who had been attending a makeshift school in a nearby city for the past two and a half years after their old building moved beyond its useful life. The new school is designed to achieve LEED Silver, and includes an OT/PT motor room with a sensory swing while also incorporating acoustical considerations to manage noise throughout the building.

In her speech during the groundbreaking ceremony, Superintendent Dr. Cynthia Tolbert thanked the FGMA team and project manager Aaron Keistler for their collaborative efforts to make the project come to reality and noted its upcoming impact on the community.

"This groundbreaking is not just about the physical start of construction. It signifies the commencement of a journey toward enriched learning, growth and community development.” Venice Community Unit School District 3 Superintendent Dr. Cynthia Tolbert

Pictured at the groundbreaking ceremony (left to right): Jeff Abt (Engenuity), Aaron Keistler (FGMA Project Manager), Marcus Eckstein (Engenuity), Joel Hall (FGMA), Kelsey Musa (Oates), Michelle Spillers (Oates), Tom Cissell (Oates), Samm James (FGMA), Erik Sager (Oates), Taryn Risley (FGMA), Ahlada Pappu (FGMA), Paul Luzecky (FGMA)

The school is being funded exclusively by a $26 million emergency construction grant from the Illinois Capital Development Board. Funding was secured through multiple legislative efforts that garnered attention from the community and politicians, including the office of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. The event was attended by Venice Mayor Tyrone Echols, Illinois State Senator Chris Belt, Illinois Deputy Governor Andy Manar, Representative Jay Hoffman, Representative LaToya Greenwood and Illinois Capital Development Board Executive Director Jim Underwood.

Senator Belt pointed out the impacts of a new school on students and their community, including boosting student performance through improved attendance and increased test scores, and boosting local pride since the school serves as a gathering place. "There is something about a brand new building... that you take pride in," he said. "This is a momentous day for the city of Venice," Belt concluded. "I can't wait to see the day those doors open and we all walk in."

FGMA is proud to be working with Oates Associates, Ed Hightower, Holland Construction and Engenuity while supporting the city and district’s vision for a revitalized community.

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