Upgrades to West student lunch area

       A project to upgrade a roughly half-acre outdoor student lunch area has started on the north (rear) side of West Middle School. The District 11 work area on the north side of West Middle
School is shown in a  photo taken this week from the school’s “backyard” off Bijou Street.
Westside Pioneer photo
       The work will replace broken concrete, improve drainage and install retaining walls (which students can then sit on), explained Bob Purvine, who is overseeing the project for School District 11.
       “The area will be more useful and hopefully a little cleaner,” he said. “There was so much dirt back there.”
       Some of the previous grass and lanscaping had been worn away by student activity over time. The new design, including the retaining walls, should “help keep the kids from runing through the landscaped area as much,” Purvine said. “It doesn't do the trees any good.”
       The project will keep “as many of the mature trees as we can,” he added, noting that a few had to be removed because they were dying or in the way.
       The concrete will have some color variation so the area won't look overly gray, Purvine said.
       Expected to continue through July, the project is mostly being funded from the 2004-05 bond issue, which had earmarked a total of $85,000 to replace the student area's concrete (broken up from old age and tree roots) and to landscape parts of the area, including new sod.
       Unfortunately, Purvine said, since '04 the area's problems have worsened and costs have gone up considerably - particularly for concrete. As a result, even the present budget of $125,000 (enhanced from other D-11 funding sources) falls short by at least $30,000 of covering the original project scope. In prioritizing what to leave out, the loser was new grass in some areas, although Purvine said he hopes the district can come back at some point and “pretty it up more.”

Westside Pioneer article