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New Trier officials hope Winnetka athletics renovations are compete by Fourth of July

Adding “wiggle room” — and then some — is a major benefit to New Trier High School’s athletic-facilities expansion to its Winnetka campus.

The phrase was also applied to the project’s estimated completion date during a board of education meeting on Monday.

Associate Superintendent Chris Johnson said officials project the $75-million renovation to finish by July 4, more than a month before school resumes in 2024.

A rendering of the exterior of the school’s new gym, looking from Essex Drive to the east.

“If we had to stretch it two to three weeks — I hope the contractors aren’t watching — we could make that work. We have more time on this one,” said Johnson, comparing the project to the renovations on the west side of the Winnetka campus, which finished up the same week as school resumed in 2017.

Johnson’s July 4 projection followed his facilities update and presentation on the Winnetka Campus East Side Academic and Athletic Project, which was approved by the board of education in early 2021 and broke ground during winter break later that year.

The expansion is highlighted by a new primary gymnasium that replaces the century-old Gates Gym. The new gym will have a capacity of around 2,000 people and feature retractable bleachers for “flexibility of use” of the space.

The improvements also include a six-lane indoor track, artificial turf field, cardio and weight-training spaces, a climbing wall, multiple auxiliary gyms, athletic offices, modern and secure entrances, and 13 new learning spaces, eight of which will be classrooms. You can find further breakdown of the project in The Record’s previous reporting.

An image of what the main gym may look like inside the new facilities.

The design of the new facilities is meant to mimic the 1930s’ architecture featured throughout the campus, Johnson said.

As previously identified at prior meetings and reported by The Record, three sources of funding are being used to finance the project: alternative revenue bonds, the district’s debt service extension base and its fund balance.

The project is the district’s most costly since its renovation and expansion of the west side of the Winnetka campus that cost more than $100 million and required a 2014 referendum.

At Monday’s meeting, Johnson said the project the project is on time, on budget and “under roof,” meaning much of the exterior construction is complete and work is far less likely to get delayed because of weather.

Inside, plumbing, classroom construction and even some painting are underway.

One concern moving forward is the installation of HVAC components, some of which are in transit while others are delayed. Johnson said temperature-control systems must be in place by March for the installation of the gymnasium floor and track.

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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