MARION, IL (KFVS) - Chester Community Grade School finished plans with Baysinger Architects of Marion to redirect water away from the school, build a new gymnasium and repair existing parts of the school that have been damaged by standing water.
James Gooden, project architect and manager with Baysinger Architects, said the project will be completed in three phases. The first, expected to begin at the end of April, will involve removing the ground water around the building and creating a detention pond to prevent future buildup around the school.
Gooden said removing the water and preventing it from building up again is critical to fixing the overall issues.
"The south wall of the gymnasium is separating from the interior walls of the building," Gooden said "because the ground underneath it is eroding and causing it to sag."
Gooden said that the first phase will involve creating a detention pond and installing drainage systems that will move water away from the school to the pond.
"The detention pond will provide a location for water to collect away from the school," Gooden said. "From there it will be slowly released into a nearby creek."
Gooden said the second phase of the project will be building a new gymnasium and lobby for the school on the northeast side of the building. Phase three will include removing the existing gymnasium and finishing repairs to other structural damages.
The entire project is estimated to cost $5.8 million with nearly 75 percent of funding coming from an Emergency Construction Grant from the Capital Development Board of Illinois and will be paid in three installments to the school. Chester Community Grade School was built in 1952 and the current gymnasium was added in 1962. The school serves approximately 650 students in grades PreK-8 from Chester and some surrounding towns.