Sunday, April 22, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Featured image: Proviso Math and Science Academy in Forest Park | File
Proviso Township High Schools District 209 will host a Master Facilities Plan meeting on Tuesday, April 24, 6 p.m., at Proviso Math and Science Academy, 8601 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Forest Park.
This will be the fourth in a series of community meetings facilitated by architects from Perkins and Will, the firm the district hired last year to conduct a master facilities plan, which includes long-term strategies for dealing with the physical needs of the district’s three campuses.
The meeting will follow a contentious regular school board meeting held April 10 at Proviso West High School, where students and parents packed the room to voice their concerns and fears that the closure of PMSA’s campus was a consideration at the third community meeting, held Feb. 27 at Proviso East High School.
At that meeting roughly two months ago, members of the public openly grappled with the prospect of eliminating PMSA’s physical campus in order to save costs and maximize the use of space at Proviso East and Proviso West.
Architects presented the attendees at the meeting, which was open to the public, a series of very preliminary options for dealing with the district’s facilities burden and most of them included moving PMSA to East and/or West. The architects said that the options were generated based on the community’s input at prior public facilities meetings.
The mere possibility, however, outraged many community members who were not at the February meeting and prompted a heated debate among area residents about PMSA’s very existence.
Some people argued that the selective admissions magnet school — which since its founding roughly a decade ago has emerged as one of the Chicago area’s top high schools — has succeeded at the expense of students at East and West who may be stigmatized by not having gotten into PMSA.
Many people strongly opposed to PMSA’s physical campus closing argued that the school has created an environment where students who may not have thrived at East and/or West can flourish.
At the April 10 regular meeting, school board members worked feverishly to quell rumors and misconceptions about the master facilities process. Members explained that the board had not formally considered closing PMSA and corrected some in the audience who thought that the board would make a decision on the matter at the April 10 meeting.
Still, some in the audience castigated the district for what they felt was its poor handling of the facilities process, with some parents arguing that they were not properly informed.
After the February meeting, the district released a document detailing the master facilities process (which you can read — in English and Spanish — in full below).
At the April 24 community engagement session, where attendees will be able to give their input and influence the facilities process, Perkins and Will architects will discuss more details about possible facilities options. The firm will have a draft facilities master plan completed by May to present to the board in June, the architects said in February.
The district’s full statement on the facilities process: