School Board approved closings, facilities plan

The Rockford School Board has approved an updated 10-year facilities plan based on in-depth analysis and community input to improve the RPS 205 elementary school footprint. The amended plan costs $250 million and includes building two new schools and 13 additions, and closing eight schools.

Plans have gone through several revisions based on feedback from more than 40 community meetings. Contingent on voter approval in a November referendum, new schools will be built to consolidate Kishwaukee and Nelson into one building, and Thompson, White Swan and Cherry Valley into a second new building. Sites for the new buildings have not yet been announced.

The elementary footprint would shrink to 29 schools by closing eight schools: Cherry Valley Elementary; Dennis Early Childhood Center; King Elementary; Kishwaukee Elementary; Nelson Elementary; Thompson Elementary; Walker Elementary; and White Swan Elementary. The Renaissance Gifted Academy will move to a campus in the city’s northwest. The elementary gifted students would attend school in the Haight building (where Montessori’s elementary programming is now housed) with Thurgood Marshall School housing the upper grade levels.

The Montessori program (Pre-K through eighth grades) would move to Marsh Elementary School, where an addition would be built. Washington School, which today houses the elementary gifted program, would become a zone elementary school. Beyer Elementary School will transition to serve prekindergarten students as an Early Childhood Center.