DeKALB – When principal Andria Mitchell first walked around and felt the doors of newly renovated Tyler Elementary School in DeKalb, she cried.
Tyler Elementary’s $3.5 million renovation was the highlight of all construction projects at DeKalb School District 428 this year. The school was built in 1969 with partial walls and no doors. Teachers used filing cabinets and desks to separate classrooms.
“My school has doors,” Mitchell said during an open house event Friday open only to parents and students. “It’s beautiful, clean. It’s a fresh start for Tyler. I am fired up.”
Tyler’s renovation, along with many other district projects, is now complete for the first day of school Wednesday. Other projects such as replacing the lighting and ceiling at Littlejohn Elementary School and installing a playground for Huntley Middle School’s early childhood and pre-kindergarten center are also complete.
The only construction project that has been delayed was replacing a boiler at Tyler Elementary, said District 428 Director of Facility Operations Tammy Carson. Officials purposely chose to delay the boiler installation, which is now slated for completion Oct. 1, so that it wouldn’t interfere with the rest of the renovations at the school, Carson said.
Overall, the majority of construction projects were completed on time for the beginning of the school year, Carson said.
“Everything went very smoothly this summer,” Carson said. “It was right on schedule.”
Attendees of the Tyler Elementary open house Friday got their first glimpse of the new version of the school. Both parents and students circled the building and peeked into the new classrooms.
“Nothing looks the same,” said fourth-grader Alex Clark of DeKalb. “Everything looks like a high school without the lockers.”
Alex Clark’s older brother, fifth-grader Mason Clark, said his favorite room is the gym, which he said looks larger than Tyler’s previous gym.
“The whole school is bigger,” Mason said.
Students will now be able to better concentrate during school hours because of the enclosed classrooms, which will create a better environment conducive to learning, Mitchell said.
“When you’re taking a hard test, you don’t have to listen to kindergartners next door screaming,” said fifth-grader Savanna Molaro.
Savanna’s uncle, Tom Gleeson of DeKalb, said he knew someone who was a student when Tyler first opened in the 1960s. The woman told Gleeson about the difficulties of concentrating when she could see what students in other classes were doing, Gleeson said.
“The experiment from the 60s is finally corrected,” he said.
List of completed projects
• Tyler Elementary School full renovation
• Huntley Middle School early childhood and pre-kindergarten renovation and air conditioning
• Huntley Middle early childhood and pre-kindergarten playground installation
• Littlejohn Elementary School heating, ventilation and air conditioning improvement
• Littlejohn Elementary lighting and ceiling replacement
• Jefferson Elementary doors and flooring replacement
• District asphalt repairs, sealing and concrete work
• Huntley Middle School pool tile replacement
• Tyler Elementary boiler replacement: Scheduled for completion Oct. 1
• Jefferson Elementary roof replacement: Scheduled for completion Monday
Source: DeKalb School District 428