Evanston’ District 65 school board may act Monday on a request from some parents and students at Evanston’s Chute Middle School to remove the security fence at the main entrance.

Evanston’ District 65 school board may act Monday on a request from some parents and students at Evanston’s Chute Middle School to remove the security fence at the main entrance.

Some say the fence, in place since the school was built in 1966 projects a prison-like atmosphere.

Architects now propose that the taxpayers spend $1.2 million replace the fence with a secure “welcome center” for the school. What do you think?

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. My daughter’s opinion

    I asked my daughter who will be entering Chute in the fall how she would feel if someone from another middle school called her a 'jail bird' because of the bars, and she responded by telling me that's an ignorant thing to call someone and she wouldn't be bothered by it.  I asked if the bars should be removed, and she responded by asking if they have more important things to spend money on at Chute.

    Just another child's point of view.

    1. It’s not just about bar removal

      The bar removal at Chute is NOT the main focus of the construction project, but rather a welcome side effect.  The focus of construction at Chute is for a secure entrance/office area that will be located in the area behind said bars. 

      Haven, Nichols and Lincolnwood will also be getting secure entrances, office areas and other improvements such as a media center (Nichols), an elevator (Lincolnwood) and additional class space at all 3– as a result of their proposed construction plans. 

      Is money tight right now? Yes.  Would it be nice if we could use this money to spend on hiring more teachers? Yes, but unfortunately money for construction comes from a completely different fund than money used to hire teachers.  There is no way to borrow from one if the other is low. 

      In the meantime, I'm happy to hear that Chute will be getting a new secure entrance as my child will also be attending in the Fall.

      1. Bars

        Thanks MarSon… This site has been way too focused on the presence of bars. I joked that I could remove the bars with a few volunteers but the fact is, Chute… and most other schools need to update their security setup. I can't count how many time I or my children had to wait at the door until they were buzzed in. If you are not familiar with the present setup, visitors and others have to buzz in at a door that is nowhere near the office. As MarSon states, the bar removal is simply a side effect of a greater good.

    2. How times have changed

      Isn't it interesting that when Chute was designed it was state of the art?

      One of the first schools designed around the middle school concept.  One of the first schools designed to create a community space.

      Way before safe and secure entrances were a necessity.

  2. I wish poll answers were not loaded

    Oops – I meant answers, not questions. Is it possible to have a clean poll choice – YES, NO and UNDECIDED without loading each possible answer by appending an opinion to it? There may be many opinions among voters that might not conform to the opinion welded to each choice (welded: the voter cannot change it, yet approval of it is implied by the choice).

  3. Redesign of Front Entryway needed at Chute

    In agreement with statement that it's not just about bar removal. I have one child who attended Chute 3 yrs & another who will be starting her 3rd year this fall.  We are 100% behind improving the entry way.  The 2 level space behind the bars is poorly designed for a variety of reasons & this area should be changed.  Just one example: I'm not sure what the architects were thinking when they originally designed this open air area to serve as hallways for 2 floors – I guess no-one told them that winter occurs in Chicago 3 to 4 months a year & kids don't wear their coats the entire day while passing thru' the halls.  It's kind've like they designed a school for California & dropped it into Evanston.  Since we are not building a new school at this time, let's take good care of the schools that we already have (& children that attend them).  The improvement at Chute would incorporate better space utilization which helps keep costs down in the long-run.

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