Demolition of former May Whitney School complete. Next comes a varsity softball field.
The former May Whitney Elementary building, parts of which stood for over a century, has been demolished, and now work is underway to put a new girl's varsity softball field where the Lake Zurich school once stood.
Vicky Cullinan, Lake Zurich Unit District 95 assistant superintendent of business and operations, said workers are crushing up the old building's foundation on the site to fill in the ground for the new softball field.
Officials announced in November the district would spend about $937,000 to tear down the building, next to the new May Whitney Elementary School at 200 Church St., and use the land for a new play field for students.
Cullinan said that after reviewing the state of the district's fields, leaders decided the softball team could most use a new field, in part because the current varsity field was not suitable to host postseason play.
"We recently addressed the football stadium and redid the tennis courts, and there was consensus there were limitations to the existing softball fields," Cullinan said.
Cullinan said the lower-level softball team will move to the current varsity field near Lake Zurich High School once the new field near May Whitney is complete.
The district preserved around 5,000 bricks from the old building during demolition, Cullinan said.
The building had many incarnations over the years: Ela Township High School, Ela-Vernon High School, Lake Zurich High School, Lake Zurich Junior High School, Lake Zurich Middle School North and, finally, May Whitney Elementary.
Cullinan said an entrance gate to the new field will be built using some of the historic bricks as well as the old limestone block that bore the name of Ela Township High School.
Most of the rest of the bricks will be sold to community members by the District 95 Educational Foundation, but those plans have not been announced yet. Interest in bricks is expected to be high: Nearly 500 people took district-led tours of the building before its demolition.
In addition to the new softball field, part of the land where the old building once stood will be paved to expand the current parking lot, Cullinan said.
The new softball field is expected to be completed in the fall.