It's taken more than 10 years for the Silvis school district to get a new junior high and a renovated elementary school.
The end is in sight for the district; but not without a few more hurdles. It cost more than $20 million to get both buildings up and running. With just weeks left until the newly renovated elementary school opens, district leaders say it's been a battle to get the funding they need.
"There was a time when people said to us, ‘why don't you just give up and move on?'" says Ray Bergles, Silvis Superintendent.
It all started in 2002, when the district asked for a construction grant. Things looked promising when then Gov. Rod Blagojevich showed up with a big check promising to build a new school -that was 2004. Despite the check, the money never came.
"Our students went for years without things," Bergles explains. "They were dripped on from leaky roofs and so forth."
Now in 2013, with the junior high done and renovations at George O'Barr Elementary almost complete, district leaders thought the fight was over.
Then came a call from Gov. Pat Quinn's office; the district would have to wait for the $1.5 million dollars that the administration had promised.
"We just want to complete the project and move on to bigger and better things," says Bergles.
For now, Superintendent Ray Bergles says the money to pay the contractors will have to come out of the general reserve fund. Nonetheless, the dream of new buildings is finally becoming a reality.
"I think everybody is excited and it's just one of those things - we stuck with it," he says.
Because of the state's funding delay, district leaders say they're waiting to build a new playground until the summer. But they still expect the new building to be ready for students on April 3rd.
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