In February 2021, the New Trier Board of Education approved a plan to renovate and replace aging buildings on the East Side of the Winnetka Campus with new athletic and academic spaces that will expand student opportunities for generations to come without the need for a referendum.
The $79.5 million project, funded by existing resources, will replace the 1928 Gates Gymnasium and 1925 Boiler Plant - both inflexible spaces with high maintenance costs that do not adequately meet student needs - with a new multipurpose facility within the boundaries of Essex Road and Trevian Way. The project will break ground in January 2022 and is scheduled to be completed by the opening of the 2023-2024 school year.
Benefits of the Project
When completed, the new facility will benefit every New Trier student through Kinetic Wellness classes and new academic spaces. The project will also offer new opportunities to the thousands of student-athletes in New Trier’s Athletics program and to the community through New Trier Extension classes. Highlights of the project include:
- New Academic Spaces: 12 new classroom spaces, which would both replace inadequate spaces on the East Side of the campus and keep classroom counts level in the long term as small, outdated classrooms are renovated and expanded into larger classrooms during the ongoing modernization of North and Tower Buildings
- New Competition, Auxiliary Gyms and Indoor Track: New multi-use competition gym with flexible, welcoming, and ADA-accessible space, new auxiliary gyms, and a 6-lane, 160-meter track to support the Kinetic Wellness and Athletics programs
- New Weight and Strength/Conditioning Facilities: Unified and expanded strength and conditioning and weight space, used by KW classes, Athletics and New Trier Extension
- New Climbing Wall and High Ropes Course: A new climbing wall and high ropes course, providing additional space for this popular student program
- Improved Security and Accessibility: Two new welcoming, accessible and secure entrances for students and visitors, enhanced student supervision, building isolation and fire sprinklers, and better connections to the rest of the campus
- Improved Maintenance and Energy Efficiency: Replaces two of the most dilapidated and antiquated buildings with new spaces that are more efficient to maintain and operate; District will seek LEED certification for the new facility
The project will maintain the same amount of parking at the Winnetka Campus and a design aesthetic consistent with the rest of the campus. The full Athletic and KW program will continue to be offered during construction.
Cost of the Project
The estimated cost of the project is approximately $79.5 million, which includes all direct and indirect costs and a 10% contingency. The majority of the project is being funded by alternate revenue bond proceeds with annual debt service payments of approximately $2.9 million from existing District revenue sources. The District also will use $14.5 million from bond proceeds through the debt service extension base portion of the existing tax levy and $14.5 million from district reserves. This funding model, which has been used at many peer schools for similar projects, will allow the District to take advantage of historically low interest rates and maintain its strong financial position.
The Facilities Steering Committee and Finance Committee oversaw the development of the plans. Stakeholder groups including the Booster Club, neighbors of the Winnetka Campus, the New Trier Parents’ Association, coaches, students, and faculty also offered input.