River Trails School District 26 cut the ribbon on our renovated net-zero energy kindergarten and pre-kindergarten school on Wednesday, August 11 and began a new era for our youngest learners.
The event included remarks from Superintendent Nancy Wagner, Board of Education President William Grimpe and Prairie Trails Principal Amy Veytsman. U.S. Congressman Brad Schneider, Mount Prospect Mayor Paul Hoefert and Cook County Board Commissioner Peter Silvestri also addressed the crowd of more than 100 invited guests and community members. Despite rain and wind, the mood was celebratory.
"I cannot believe this day is finally here," Veytsman said. "A vision over eight years in the making has finally come to fruition. A vision of our youngest learners exploring, investigating, playing and learning specifically designed and built with them in mind."
Following the ceremony, several students in attendance had the opportunity to tour the building and see their new school for the first time. Not only did they have the opportunity to get a sneak peak of their classrooms, they also enjoyed running around the multipurpose room.
"I'm thrilled to celebrate the launch of Prairie Trails School," Grimpe said. "This building has come a long way and while what you see before you wasn't the district's 'Plan A' or even 'Plan B,' the end result is simply spectacular."
The project, funded in part by a $2 million grant from he Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, created the first net-zero energy facility in Mount Prospect and the first renovated school in the state to achieve the environmentally friendly classification, according to the district.
Sustainability elements include solar panels and a new efficient heating and cooling system that are expected to save more than $32,000 per year in gas and electricity costs.
"This is a great celebration," Congressman Schneider said. "To show the power of collaboration and working together and getting things done. This is what happens when a community comes together, when government finds ways to partner with the community and make a difference and ensure that our kids are going to get the best education that they deserve."
You can see a video of the event on the district's YouTube page.