Romeoville trustees on Wednesday signed off on improvements at R.C. Hill Elementary School that tie the campus in with the redevelopment of the village’s downtown.
The project calls for more parking, a new playground and green initiatives, according to Community Development Director Steve Rockwell.
The area west of the campus will become the new playground, while the existing playground and parking area will become part of a new parking lot that could incorporate green elements like bioswales and permeable pavement, Rockwell said.
With sloped sides, bioswales are filled with compost or vegetation to help remove pollution from runoff water.
Valley View School District officials approved the plans at a March 12 board meeting, saying the new parking area replace spaces that will be lost when the Spartans’ Square shopping center is redeveloped. Currently, R.C. Hill staffers use the mostly vacant strip mall for overflow parking.
Other green projects being considered for the site include solar panels and wind turbines. A 20-foot combination solar and wind turbine is proposed for the front of the building, Rockwell said, noting that the turbine will be used for educational purposes, not to power the building.
The project will also include a new bus drop-off area.
“It’s great to see [Valley View] making an investment in upgrading this facility,” Mayor John Noak said, adding the project is just one of numerous improvement projects in the downtown.
“It’s all coming together,” he said. “It’s a very exciting time for the redevelopment of that area.”
Valley View Facility Operations and Maintenance Director Mike Lopez said the changes will make R.C. Hill a “flagship” for the district.
“It’s really allowing us to make some much-needed improvements for the campus and for the community,” he said, adding the plans also call for a vegetable garden to introduce students to the concept of sustainability.
Lopez said the district is exploring Illinois Environmental Protection Agency grants to help fund the project.