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Students get sneak peek at new Wadsworth school

Wadsworth-12/21/12 Fri./Praire Trail School
Third grade students from Mrs. Italy's class check out new classroom Friday during their visit.
| Joe Shuman~Sun-Times

Wadsworth-12/21/12, Fri./Praire Trail School Third grade students from Mrs. Italy's class check out the new classroom Friday during their visit. | Joe Shuman~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 20, 2013 2:04AM

“Awesome” was the word of the day Friday.

Gurnee Grade School District 56 students got to walk through the newly completed Prairie Trail School, located on Wadsworth Road about half a mile east of Delany Road. Construction started in August 2011 and is just about finished, Superintendent John Hutton said Friday.

Most of the furniture has been installed and a few final touches will be finished in time for when school resumes Jan. 7, Hutton said.

“I couldn’t be happier. It’s a great building. It’s going to be a great place for kids to learn and we definitely think it’s going to enhance learning for our children,” Hutton said.

Voters approved the $28.5 million construction and renovation project in November 2010. The 90,000-square-foot school will house 538 students in grades three through five. It replaces 60-year-old flood-prone Gurnee Grade School on Kilbourne Road in Gurnee.

Prairie Trail School sits on a 70-acre site and includes a rain garden and an outdoor amphitheater. The school won the Energy Star Certification this year for all the building’s energy-saving features. The school uses berms to supply insulation, 12 skylights and courtyards to provide natural light, and also has an electric car charging station to encourage people to use electric cars, Hutton said.

Students got to put their school supplies in their desks on Friday, which was their last day before holiday break.

“The kids were very excited. The word we heard most often was ‘awesome’ and ‘we love our new school.’ It was heart-tugging to see how excited the kids were in the classroom,” Hutton said.

He noted that the building is not quite ready. There are still a few tweaks, like bringing in the last of the furniture and finishing the gym floor. He said the school will be ready before classes resume.

He also noted that bus routes have changed for many students. Parents were mailed the new routes and times. Teachers also sent information home with students, Hutton said. Information is also available on the district’s Web site at

“I would just say that our staff has done a great job. They have given a lot of their own time to make this transition as smooth as possible. We’re thankful to our staff,” Hutton said.

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