A new Illinois law will provide state funds to restore old school buildings. The state’s school construction law used to provide money for districts wishing to replace aging school buildings. Now school districts will be able to consider rehabilitation instead.
This is a good change, says Lisa DiChiera, director of advocacy for the preservation group Landmarks Illinois. “The problem with this law was that it was automatically biasing toward new construction, and not even giving school districts the opportunity to apply for funds to rehabilitate, even if they felt that that was an option that they wanted to have,” she said.
DiChiera says a lot of old schools are architecturally significant in their towns, and can be brought up to modern standards at a price cheaper than new construction, if one takes into account the cost of land acquisition for new construction and demolition and disposal of the old structure.At the moment, the state doesn’t have any school construction money to distribute.