Winnebago County News Briefs

Chronicle Media


Work to begin this fall on new school

Construction will begin this fall for a new school to replace the existing Kishwaukee and Nelson elementary schools in Rockford’s ORCHiD neighborhood after the school board agreed to hire Stenstrom General Contractor – Design/Build Group to build the 86,000 square-foot K-5 school for $17.7 million.

The school is expected to be ready for students at the start of the 2019-20 school year. 

RPS 205 used a blind bid process and awards work to the lowest responsible bidder. Six companies were represented at a pre-bid meeting, and two companies submitted bids:

  • Stenstrom General Contractor: $17,706,375
  • Scandroli Construction: $18,278,200

The project was awarded under budget. The City of Rockford will reimburse the district for a portion of the work: $92,000 to improve the water distribution system.

Building two elementary schools is part of board-approved facilities plan to upgrade RPS 205 buildings and shrink the district’s footprint. The School Board approved an updated 10-year facilities plan in August 2014, based on in-depth analysis and community input. That plan outlined closing eight buildings and building 13 elementary school additions and two new schools.


Sinnissippi Park renovations complete

State, city, and county leaders recently joined  together to celebrate the improvements and dedicate a new playground at Sinnissippi Park.

Since 2013, the Rockford Park District has been working on renovating and adding new recreational opportunities at Sinnissippi Park, 1401 N. Second Street, Rockford.

Sinnissippi Park improvements included:

  • New accessible path system
  • Additional parking areas
  • Paved concession area at the top of the Music Shell
  • Improved lighting throughout the park
  • Renovated existing 5- to 12-year-old playground
  • New music-themed 2- to 5- year-old playground and a bag toss area near the Twin Shelters
  • Installed new hexagon picnic shelter north of the maintenance shop
  • Installed a shade structure near the Music Shell seating area
  • New restrooms in the lower portion of the Music Shell
  • Installed native prairie and rain garden plantings

In May 2013, the Rockford Park District was awarded a $400,000 State of Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant. The OSLAD grant helped assist the Park District with park improvements to enhance safety and enjoyment.

The total project cost was $950,000. The remaining costs were funded through the Park District’s capital improvement project budget.


‘Plant a Row’ and help region’s hungry

Zillions of zucchini’s, tons of tomatoes, cartloads of carrots are just an example of the produce that can be donated to the Plant a Row for the Hungry efforts this summer to help ease hunger in our community. 

This is a cooperative program in Winnebago County between University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners and local gardeners where local gardeners can drop off their surplus garden produce, including fruits and vegetables, to be donated to local food pantries.

A Plant a Row for the Hungry kick off will be held at Edgebrook Shopping Center Farmers Market at 10 a.m. on July 12.  The market is located at the corner of Alpine and Highcrest Roads. This is just one of eight locations where home gardeners c

This is a cooperative program in Winnebago County between University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners and local gardeners.  All fresh produce brought in by local gardeners is donated to local food pantries.

For more information and other drop off points,  contact University of Illinois Extension – Winnebago County at (815) 986-4357 or visit our website at


SwedishAmerican offers EMS classes

Persons interested in serving as an EMT or Paramedic can join a SwedishAmerican class starting in August.

The EMT-Basic class will be offered at the SwedishAmerican EMS Office located at 4120 Charles Street, Rockford beginning Aug. 15 and held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-10 p.m. through Dec. 14.

The class will prepare students to become first responders in emergency situations. Coursework covers topics such as assessment and treatment of injuries and use of medical equipment.

A Paramedic class will be offered beginning Sept. 7 and will run Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-11 p.m. and end on Aug. 21.

Prerequisites for the Paramedic class include: a current EMT-Basic license; high school diploma or GED; current healthcare (BLS) CPR card, and; the student must be 18 years old. Application deadline for the Paramedic course is July 21, 2017.

For more information about the classes send an e-mail to or call 779-696-6082.


–Winnebago County News Briefs–