The school year officially begins on Wednesday, Aug. 19 when the incoming freshman at Fenwick High School will meet for their orientation. However, the class of 2019 will not be the only new addition to the Friars’ campus.
Construction has begun on a temporary parking lot on the north side of Madison St. between East and Scoville Avenues as a part of a much larger renovation project for the private college preparatory school in Oak Park.
“We’re planning for the future,” said Dennis Marani on behalf of Fenwick’s board of directors in an interview with Pioneer Press. “We know we have to do it in stages. We’ll [install landscaping] and enhance it to create a softer look than just a blank parking lot.”
Trustees approved a special permit that will allow students and faculty to park in the temporary asphalt lot so as not to inconvenience anybody while the school undergoes major renovations, which may take as long as 10 years.
“The concept is to build off the south end of the school for extended facilities that we severely lack in order to stay competitive with other schools,” Marani said. “Then, as we proceed through the years, we will go to the Scoville Avenue side where we’ve acquired property to complete the project.”
Attaining the permit for the parking lot was met with some resistance from certain Village Board members.
“I’m not real keen of cars and buses looking at a fence with grass,” said Village Trustee Peter Barber. “It really isn’t the best presentation of Madison Street. I’m hoping there is some way to consider using higher landscaping.”
There are plans to implement ornamental grass and shrubs to keep the parking lot hidden from public view, according to Marini.
“I think our necessary band and choir facility off the auditorium would be first and foremost because we’re severely lacking in that type of facility, but it’s not to say something like [the parking structure] can’t happen faster,” Marani said. “I can’t say what will happen first. I do know we have a goal, and this is our goal.”