Kankakee High School

Kankakee High School

KANKAKEE — Kankakee High School's future will begin with a groundbreaking on Feb. 28.

The school board on Tuesday awarded Cosgrove Construction, of Joliet, a $21.2 million contract to renovate the school and add four additional classrooms. The funds are part of a $29.8 million federal school construction loan Kankakee School District 111 received in 2016.

Plans for building a "virtually new" high school include remodeling the front entrance, administration offices, band room, auditorium, choir room, cafeteria and classrooms. It also includes filling in the old courtyard, as well as adding a culinary arts lab, science prep room and air conditioning in renovated spaces.

Such renovations will enable the school to develop a more modern approach to education that embraces technology and collaboration through classroom clusters consisting of large and small meeting spaces, teacher meeting spaces and labs.

"I know it's going to be great for our students," Superintendent Genevra Walters said. "Now, I'm trying to figure out how we are going to do the rest of the building within the next five years."

Cosgrove submitted the lowest bid out of four companies by $1 million. Ed Wright, of DLA Architects, said the project will take about a year to complete during the district's December board meeting.

The district already has started sealing off areas of the school that will be under construction, including the front entrance and administrative buildings, which have been moved to the east side of the building.

"There is a sense of excitement amongst the students," Walter said. "They see that we are changing visually. The change has been challenging in terms of scheduling, but everyone is adapting to it."