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MATTOON -- District officials are seeking school board approval before moving forward with a few improvement projects at the Franklin and Hawthorne school buildings.

School board members are set to vote on a slate of measures that would allow the district to solicit for bids for these projects for building at their meeting scheduled for 7 tonight at the district administrative offices.

Officials have been looking to make key improvements at the two schools before the special education merger that was OK’d last year is in place.

It was decided last year that the two special education programs located in the district come together under the Eastern Illinois Area Special Education’s wing serving the 120 3- to 21-year-old students covered under these programs.

The district would be bidding out work to add more parking to Hawthorne school on the south side of the building. Mattoon Superintendent Larry Lilly said the EIASE staff that will be occupying the building will be more than what current parking located on the east side of the building allows for.

If approved, the district would bid out work to update the electrical and ceiling finishes in Franklin. Kent Metzger, facilities engineer for Mattoon schools, said the plan is to add more electrical and data outlets throughout the building.

Pending board approval, work would also be bid out for a playground geared toward preschoolers who will occupy the space. Metzger said the playground equipment includes a swingset as well as a play structure with features like a tic-tac-toe board.

Lilly indicated there will be further action items to accept bids for these projects in the next two months, should the board allow the district to solicit for bids tonight. Metzger said the final phase of work on the buildings will take place over the summer before the merged special education program is set to start.

The program will official kick off in the fall, however, program students have already participated in joint events leading up to the merger.  

Also on the docket for the school board tonight, Lilly plans to announce the next school year’s calendar dates. The first day of the next school year will be Aug. 15 and the last day, pending emergency days, is set for May 23, 2019.



Jarad Jarmon is a reporter for the JG-TC. He covers the city of Charleston, Eastern Illinois University, Mattoon schools and the Regional Office of Education.

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