Want to buy the old Harmony School? Get your bid in soon

News-DemocratAugust 27, 2013 

Harmony-Emge School District 175 will be accepting closed bids for the former Harmony school building. The school board unanimously approved selling the building through sealed bids at a minimum price determined by board members in closed session. The minimum price is not being disclosed by district officials.

Superintendent Pam Leonard said a walk-through of the former school building, located at 500 Wilshire in Belleville, is scheduled from 10 to 11 a.m. Sept. 10. Interested individuals must schedule an appointment with the district to participate in the walk-through. For more information, contact the district office at 397-8444.

District officials will open the sealed bids at 10 a.m. Sept. 24. The building will be sold as is, according to Leonard. It's been several years since the building has been occupied, she said.

The Harmony building was the subject of a federal lawsuit last year. School district leaders filed a suit against St. Clair County claiming that a decision to reject plans to put a private school for special need kids in the former Harmony School is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities act. However, the lawsuit was dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction on Oct. 25, 2012.

In other news, Leonard expects contract negotiations with district teachers to wrap up by the end of the week. "Things are moving in a positive forward motion," she said.

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Waterloo School District 5 will receive $20.1 million from the state to reimburse the district for construction of a new high school at 505 E. Building Blvd. The school opened in August 2009. The $38 million, 227,000-square-foot building includes 68 classrooms, a gymnasium, stadium, athletic fields, tennis courts and a 462-seat auditorium.

Twenty-four districts statewide will receive funding this fiscal year after their projects are certified by the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Capital Development Board. The funding will allow districts to construct new schools, classroom additions and make overdue renovations to aging buildings. In some cases, the funds will be used to reimburse districts for buildings that have already been constructed.

The funds for Waterloo are part of $400 million from Gov. Pat Quinn's Illinois Jobs Now! capital program to construct new buildings, expand existing ones and replace outdated energy systems in schools across Illinois.

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Southern Illinois University Carbondale's College of Engineering awarded more than $113,000 in scholarships for the 2013-14 school year to 83 students.

Scholarship recipients included senior Jake Schrage of Highland and junior Tyler Huffman of O'Fallon. Jake, the son of Matt and Lisa Schrage, received the $1,000 Engineering Dean's Scholarship, and Tyler, the son of Ernie and Jill Huffman, was awarded the $1,000 George A. Bates Memorial Foundation Scholarship and a $1,000 tuition waiver.

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Southwestern Illinois College Belleville Campus will host its free Concerts in Cafe Series this fall.

The Tuesday concerts include: Four of a Kind Band, Sept. 3; You Can't Beat Experience Band, Sept. 17; Ed and Friends, Oct. 1; The Don James Band, Oct. 15; Waterloo German Band, Oct. 29; and The Casuals, Nov. 12. All bands are subject to change.

Concerts begin at 7 p.m. and are open to the public. Admission is free. The Cafe is located on the first floor of the Main Complex, 2500 Carlyle Ave. Parking for the event is available in Lot M3. For more information, contact 618-235-2700, ext. 5561.

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The Winnick Family Foundation is offering field trip grants through the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation. The grants are for grades fourth through 12 in public and private schools nationwide that have a low-income enrollment above 30 percent.

The grants help defray the cost of transportation to the presidential library and museum in Springfield. Groups receiving a grant are also exempt from the museum admission fee. A total of $20,500 is available to distribute this year.

Grant applications can be found online at http://bit.ly/WinnickGrant. The deadline is Sept. 3.

The grant awards will be announced beginning Oct. 1. For more information, call 217-558-8929 or email carol.manning@illinois.gov.

Do you have an item for Education Matters or an education-related story tip? We want to know about it. Send your ideas to Jamie Forsythe at education@bnd.com or call 618-239-2562. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/BND_JForsythe.

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