Although it wasn’t on the agenda, the Finance Committee of the Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board offered a glimmer of hope Monday night for advocates of getting rid of the prison-like gates that adorn the north side of Chute Middle School.
Board President Tracy Quattrocki noted that it’s been two years since a group of parents petitioned the board to do something about the iron “bars” that they contended was a subject of derision by outsiders.
Parents said that some of their kids were subjected to ridicule by their friends from other schools who thought that Chute was designed for kids who were in trouble because it looked like a prison.
While sympathetic, the board ultimately rejected a $1.5-million dollar solution that involved converting the area to a welcome center for the school. Since then, other construction projects have eliminated the necessity for extensive inside work to accommodate a change.
All that’s needed now, according to the district’s consulting architect, John Castellana, is to remove the gates and replace them with windows constructed of safety glass that would serve the additional benefit of keeping ice and snow from blowing inside during winter storms.
The committee gave the administration the go-ahead to look at the numbers and bring the project back to them at a later date for their consideration.
When committee chairman Richard Rykhus asked if there was any public comment on the issue, someone in the audience exclaimed, “Hooray to the glass!”
Photo: The controversial gates at Chute.