Marquardt School District 15 is committed to creating a school system where students gain the skills and knowledge necessary to become productive members of society and lifelong learners. High-functioning school systems are necessarily adaptive. The skillset and knowledge required to contribute meaningfully in today’s society are much different from those needed in 1893 when the original Marquardt School was built.
The State’s recent changes to the learning standards in science and the performing/fine arts areas require more connections to technology, engineering, and mathematics within these subjects to better support students in an increasingly competitive global economy. These changes necessitate that all schools expand learning opportunities in these fields. A growing body of research shows that students who are given strong opportunities to acquire foundational skills in these fields early are more comfortable and interested in these subjects in high school.
In order to continue to support our mission in an advancing society, Marquardt School District 15 is poised to undergo an exciting transformation. Over the next two years, the District is investing in several building projects to expand academic programming and increase college and career readiness.
The construction of a Marquardt Performing Arts Center, STEAM Integrated Labs, and classrooms to expand instruction in the area of Early Childhood Learning will provide vital educational opportunities to our students without increasing the annual debt-service tax rate of the District.
In 2009, the federal government issued Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCBs) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Approximately half of the QSCB money went directly to Chicago Public Schools in 2009, and the other $500,000,000 was released by the State of Illinois this past November.
What makes QSCBs so cost-effective is that school districts receive an interest refund on these bonds from the federal government. This means that the bonds can be sold with little to no interest expense. Because Marquardt School District had done advanced planning for this construction in 2012, District leaders were in a unique position to take advantage of this opportunity when the money was released. Out of 193 applicants in Illinois, Marquardt School District 15 was 1 of 29 recipients selected and the only recipient to receive a subsidy in DuPage County.
The construction project will unfold in two phases: Phase 1 will be the construction of the Marquardt Performing Arts Center and Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) Integrated Labs at Marquardt Middle School (MMS). Phase 2 will be the construction of new Early Learning Program classrooms at Hall and Winnebago.
Traditional science classrooms at MMS and current spaces designated for arts instruction will be converted into STEAM Integrated Labs. A STEAM Integrated Lab is an innovative workshop space where students can apply concepts and skills across the curricular areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.
STEAM Integrated Labs will provide students the opportunity to:
• demonstrate creativity and ingenuity to solve real-world problems
• make connections in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics
• access a variety of dynamic, hands-on learning opportunities
The Marquardt Performing Arts Center will be used by students studying the visual and performing arts at MMS, as well as elementary students engaged in these disciplines. New instruction and performance areas will connect the MMS Commons to the 6th Grade Center, providing greater security by creating indoor walkways for students and staff.
The Marquardt Performing Arts Center construction will provide students:
• state-of-the-art 500-seat auditorium with stage
• new band, orchestra, chorus, drama, and art classrooms
• more unified middle school campus
This first phase of construction is estimated to be completed in 12-15 months and is scheduled to begin this summer. Upon completion of this first phase, the second phase, the addition of classrooms that will extend the District’s Early Childhood Learning Program, will begin. The District will share more details on the construction of the Early Childhood Learning Program classrooms in the upcoming year, and is looking forward to providing more opportunities to the youngest members of our community.