Speak Up for Healthy, Sustainable School Renovation in Illinois

April 20, 2012

Update! On April 25, this bill (SB 639) was passed by the House Education Committee and is expected to go to the full House in early May. Thanks to all the advocates who spoke up in support of this common-sense legislation! Now is the perfect time to encourage all members of the Illinois House to support this bill. If you have not already done so, we urge you to send a letter here.

In Illinois, our average school is well over forty years old. Yet the current state school construction law only provides funding for “replacing aging schools,” not rehabilitating them. We know that when properly renovated and maintained, historic buildings can provide excellent learning environments that support student health and model sustainability in the community. 

Our schools need funding for rehabilitation — not just new construction. Please join Healthy Schools Campaign, AIA-IL and Landmarks IL in speaking up for a sensible change to the law that would make rehabilitation funding a reality for Illinois schools.

Without this change, we will continue to lose centrally-located schools that could otherwise have been repaired. Demolition and new construction can cost more, create more environmental waste, and often result in the loss of a historic building that is a community asset. Many school districts facing this dilemma opt to build in new locations that require busing, which contributes to increased transportation costs and takes away the healthy option of walking or biking to school.

_DSC0955rsz

Student photo of school rehabilitation submitted in Through Your Lens photo contest

State Senators William Delgado (D-97, Chicago) and Pam Althoff (R-32, Crystal Lake) are sponsoring SB 639 to help encourage rehabilitation of aging school buildings. The bill will allow school districts to equally evaluate the option of renovating older school buildings rather than only considering replacement.

This bill does not require new or additional state funds. It merely allows school districts to consider rehabilitation as an option rather than only considering replacing an older school building.

Send a letter to your State Representative here.

The bill passed the State Senate and is now at the State House.  A hearing is scheduled for 9:00 a. m. on April 25. Please contact your state representative to support this bill.

Thank you for raising your voice for healthy and sustainable schools!

http://healthyschoolscampaign.org/getinvolved/action/SB639.php