Members of Evanston’s City Council voted 8-0 Monday night to approve zoning variations needed to build the proposed 5th Ward school.

Despite objections from some neighbors about the size of the building, which will have a capacity of 900 students, and its impact on traffic in the neighborhood, the Council approved the plans with no additional modifications, beyond those made when the proposal was introduced two weeks ago.

In discussion of the proposal for the kindergarten through 8th grade school, the district’s enrollment manager, Sarita Smith said the school would replace Foster School, which had operated as a kindergarten through 6th grade school before it was closed as a neighborhood school in the early 1970s.

Devon Horton.

District Superintendent Devon Horton said the new school is now expected to open with about 700 students, including those from the Bessie Rhodes magnet school in Skokie, which the district plans to close when the new 5th Ward school opens.

Horton said it’s now likely that the Rhodes program will transition to a TWI, or two-way immersion program for English and Spanish instruction in future years.

Ald. Tom Suffredin (8th) was absent from the meeting for the 5th Ward school vote.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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