Mundelein’s Carmel breaks ground on $6 million project
Updated: June 21, 2012 10:38AM
Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein -- which draws students from Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and surrounding communities -- has begun construction on a $6 million building renovation and expansion project, which will include a new technology-centered Information Commons and a Fine Arts Center.
More than 100 Carmel graduates, school officials and donors attended a formal ground-breaking ceremony at the high school campus June 14.
The expansion project has been in the planning stages for several years and is expected to take about a year to complete.
The project will include renovations and upgrades to the school’s existing library, transforming it into a state-of-the-art Information Commons with a 3,000-square-foot addition to house a self-contained classroom. It will include small group study rooms, digital labs and an audio/video production studio. Students will be able to utilize the new tablet computers that the school will provide them next school year to access on-line data and the Internet and will be able to work collaboratively on group projects.
“While the old library’s focus was on books, the new library’s focus will be on the technology,” said Judith Mucheck, president of Carmel Catholic High School.
The project will also transform the school’s former 22,000-square-foot monastery into a premier Fine Arts Center with a 5,000-square-foot addition to house a digital lab, dance studio, black box theatre, ensemble and practice rooms for choral and instrumental, three visual arts rooms, a photography darkroom and gallery space.
Mucheck said the school previously had limited space for many of the school’s fine arts activities so the new Fine Arts Center will be a huge benefit to students.
“The fine arts have come home to Carmel, and we couldn’t be happier,” she said.
The new facilities are designed to be environmentally sensitive, according to lead architect Bill Sturm of Serena Sturm Architects, Ltd. The new building areas incorporate design features to utilize natural sunlight as much as possible to reduce electricity usage. Old building debris will also be recycled, he said.
The building improvements came out of a strategic planning process which started in 2006 to address the high school’s long-term capital needs. Carmel High School was built in 1962 and the last major expansion was a new science wing built in the late 1990s, according to Greg Hirsch, chairman of the Carmel Catholic Board of Directors.
“To stay at the forefront of education you’ve got to invest in your facilities,” he said.
Carmel started a capital campaign more than a year ago to raise funds for the building improvements through private donors, alumni and other sources and has raised more than $3 million so far, Mucheck said. More fund-raising activities are planned over the next year to help raise the remaining funds.