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District 181 readies alternative plan for Hinsdale Middle School students

Hinsdale Middle School students have been attending Clarendon Hills Middle School on a split-day schedule while work to clean up mold at HMS is being completed. | Chuck Fieldman/Sun-Times Media

Hinsdale Middle School students have been attending Clarendon Hills Middle School on a split-day schedule while work to clean up mold at HMS is being completed. | Chuck Fieldman/Sun-Times Media

While the board and administration of Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181 are hoping to have Hinsdale Middle School students back in their school building Feb. 3, a longer-range alternative plan is being organized.

That plan could have HMS students attending classes at National Louis University, 850 Warrenville Road, Lisle, until they are able to return to their own school if they are unable to do so much later than Feb. 3.

HMS students missed school Jan. 17, 21 and 22 because of mold issues in the building. As cleanup work is being completed, students from HMS began a split day schedule Jan. 23 at Clarendon Hills Middle School.

The split day schedule has CHMS students in attendance from 7-11:30 a.m. and HMS students in classes from noon to 4:30 p.m.

As of Jan. 27, District 181 officials were expecting to be able to have HMS students return to their school Feb. 3. However, because nobody knows for sure when the work, including the testing of air and surface areas, will be completed, the District 181 Board asked administrators to come up with another option that could be used if the work is delayed.

“We need to have the National Louis plan on hot standby,”board President Marty Turek said, adding he hopes the planning work is all for nothing.

“We want to be ready,” he said. “We don’t want to be caught on our heals.”

Turek said the board could meet again as soon as Jan. 30 after finding out if arrangements with National Louis have been solidified and having an update on the work at HMS.

Officials at National Louis, which is about 12 miles from HMS, have said they can provide at least 35 classrooms, all with WiFi, as early as Feb. 3.

Among the 35 classrooms, there is one science lab, one art room and three computer labs. The cost of using National Louis would be $140 for each classroom each day.

If the plan is implemented, HMS students would be bussed to and from National Louis.

District 181 staff looked into other alternatives, such as using its other schools, Hinsdale Central, vacant properties and hotel conference centers. Superintendent Renee Schuster said using National Louis would be the easiest option to make work.

“It’s easier for National Louis to accommodate all of our students from HMS,” she said. “It would be more complicated using other District 181 buildings and Hinsdale Central.”

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