GLENWOOD | Voters in a south suburban school district approved a referendum Tuesday for a bond sale to raise $15.8 million for the construction of a new school to replace the Brookwood Middle School building.
Voters in the district centered around Glenwood that also includes portions of Chicago Heights, Lansing and Lynwood, cast 3,168 ballots in favor of the idea, compared to 1,465 votes against it, according to the Cook County clerk’s office.
Supporters of the referendum argued the school building at 200 E. Glenwood-Lansing Road was too old for a renovation to be practical.
The original part of the structure was built in 1898, and officials say the age of the building and erratic electrical service makes it difficult to properly heat the building in the winter months and cool it during the warmer months.
A group calling itself the Citizens for a Healthy, Safe and Secure Middle School spent the past few months canvassing the school district urging potential voters to support the referendum. They say it will result in a tax increase of $1.50 per $100,000 of equalized assessed valuation; or about an extra $20 per year per homeowner.
Terry Campbell, a former School Board member who serves as a village trustee and who co-chaired the group, was pleased 63 percent of voters supported the referendum.
“That’s excellent,” he said, adding there is still much work to be done before area students actually have a new school building.
“We still have a long road ahead of us,” he said, as school district officials now have to figure out how to accommodate students while the old building is being demolished and a new school is being built.
Trina Mays-Barton, another coordinator of the referendum effort, said she plans to talk with Brookwood School District 167 School Board members when they meet Monday to figure out when bonds will be sold and when construction could start.
Barton said supporters are hopeful this is the beginning of a three-year process, with a new school building actually opening in 2015.
District Superintendent Pamela Hollich was unavailable for comment Tuesday night.