Springman ribbon cutting highlight work from $119 million referendum
When you've been around a place 59 years, you've seen some things.
Like Dave Tosh saw at the old Springman Middle School in Glenview.
"The gym was leaking, and we could only get bleachers on one side," said Tosh, a retired physical education teacher who still volunteers at Springman as a hall and lunchroom supervisor and coaches intramural golf and tennis.
"And interestingly enough," he said, "if the ball went into the bleachers, you couldn't move the bleachers. It was like Lower Wacker Drive under there; things were creeping and crawling."
No longer. Springman Middle School, 2701 Central Road, has been given new life with multiple additions, renovations and replacements that were treated to a ribbon-cutting celebration on Monday, Sept. 12.
"It was, I think, about a year and a half ago (May 17, 2021) some of us were right around the corner -- you remember that? We had shovels in our hands. Along with students we were tossing dirt. What a difference a year and a half makes," Glenview School District 34 Superintendent Dane Delli said before Tosh, surrounded by members of the Springman Wildcats girls volleyball program, scissored the ribbon in the school's new lobby.
The improvements -- new gymnasium and physical education offices, locker rooms, 2-story addition, four new science labs, stormwater detention and a host of other things added or refurbished in work that's ongoing -- are due to a $119 million bond issue voters approved in March 2020 for Springman and three other District 34 schools.
Delli, District 34 board President Scott Nelson, board members such as Mike Korman and officials like Glenview Village President Mike Jenny will likely be on a ribbon-cutting tour of Westbrook (Sept. 19), Henking (Sept. 20) and Lyon (Sept. 21) primary schools.
"As a parent, I love living in a community that's willing to invest so much in its children, giving Glenview's kids educational opportunities that aren't available everywhere. It's a true asset to the community," said Jenny, who sent one child through Springman and will have another there starting in August 2023.
"As a village leader, I like to see our village investing in our schools, which are such a draw in terms of attracting and retaining families to the community to foster our growth," he said.
State Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz drew cheers from the volleyball players at the ribbon cutting when she addressed the "Springman pride" she felt.
"We all know that our public schools are the reason why people move to Glenview," said the 17th District representative. "It's the reason why my husband, Mike, and I chose Glenview over 20 years ago.
"I have three kids, and all graduated from Glenview District 34 public schools. And I can tell you that the pride in the Glenview community that emanates from our public schools has lasted a lifetime as my kids have been grown and flown."
After Tosh cut the ribbon people could tour the school, visiting places including the science classrooms and labs that Nelson equated to a college facility.
Those close to the referendum work found the new aspects dramatically improved.
"Night and day," said FGMA Architects Vice President Ron Richardson.
"The original building was truly functionally obsolete. They had a lot of deferred maintenance that had been going on for years simply because they had limited funds, and because of the referendum they were able to correct many of those, and right-size and correct a lot of those problems that are in the building," he said.
"And it's still ongoing. This is only the first and second phase; there's another phase that's coming to finish the building. So it's still a work in progress."
In the gym, however, the Wildcats were set to host girls volleyball against the Caruso Blue Jays from Deerfield, where Springman Principal Megan Russell served before coming to the Glenview school.
"It looks brand-new; the floor is very shiny," said Leah, a defensive specialist on Springman's seventh-grade team.
Leah and her teammate, Addison, an outside hitter, were among the 847 students packed into the gymnasium on Aug. 25 for its dedication.
"That was really cool," Addison said. "It was fun because I hadn't had a school assembly in a long time, so it was a really cool thing to have. With the new bleachers and stuff, it was a fun area to be around."
Unbeknownst to Tosh, even as he leaned against a wall and watched the proceedings, the gymnasium -- his "headquarters," the plaque says -- was dedicated in his name. The Aug. 25 event was the first time he'd seen the entire student body packed into one gymnasium for an assembly.
A Springman teacher from 1963-94 and still a board commissioner with the Glenview Park District, Tosh said he "almost lost it" when Russell started talking about him at the assembly and he realized what was happening.
A Pony League baseball coach in Glenview for 21 years, Tosh also has a baseball field near Westbrook Elementary School named after him.
"It's been great to be around the kids," he said.
"My wife (Dina), she's into this, she lets me do it. What are you going to do -- my heart's in this building," Tosh said. "You don't start things in '63 and just go out the door. I've been retired for almost 30 years; 1994 I retired. I just keep coming back, and they allow me to keep coming back, they give me a name (badge) and a key. So that's even better."