Thursday, July 12, 2012

It was supposed to be an oasis in the urban desert

... instead the new Glen Oak Community Learning Center looks like a desert. The grass is dead, newly planted trees are dead and the property was devoid of any activity on a beautiful summer day. A "four-city-block area" with dead grass all around.

It could be that the District doesn't have the funds to run the sprinkler system (assuming one was installed for brand new landscaping); or maybe it's because they can't afford the water bill.

Recall the hype: Glen Oak Community Learning Center In the very heart of Peoria’s historic East Bluff neighborhood, a four-city-block area is being profoundly transformed via a unique set of public and private partnerships. The crown jewel in this development is an all-new 126,000-square-foot Glen Oak School and Community Center that will serve pupils from birth through eighth grade. From both urban and architectural design perspectives, the school itself breaks new ground by providing an all-weather pedestrian street that links a two-story academic wing with a one-story community facility wing. This pedestrian way is on axis with Frye Street, an important east-west connector that extends all the way to Prospect Avenue on the eastern edge of the East Bluff, and to Knoxville Avenue on its western edge.

Back of Community Learning Center
Glen Oak’s all-weather pedestrian street is intended to serve as the nucleus for the entire four-block development. Both the school’s expansive media center (to the north) and its cafeteria and multi-purpose community space (to the south) open directly to this interior venue. In the academic wing to the north, integrated learning laboratories can be found on both levels, which can be used collaboratively by student groups across several classes and grade levels. In the community wing to the south, residents of the surrounding neighborhood can take a night class, utilize the full-service gymnasium, or enjoy an exercise routine while looking out over the public park.

The Glen Oak development does not stop with simply a new school building. It includes a new public park (above the 110 deep wells that were dug for the geothermal heating and cooling system serving the school), designed in cooperation with the Peoria Park District, and a coordinated ensemble of new streets and intersections around the perimeter of the four-block site, designed and built by the City of Peoria. Beyond these public stakeholders, the private businesses in the adjacent Wisconsin Avenue Business District have begun organizing themselves in an effort to provide a powerful and dynamic private-sector complement to all of these public sector inputs.

Frye Street side of Community Learning Center
The Glen Oak Birth—8th Grade Community Learning Center development represents all the best and most profound elements of sustainability. The new school itself includes a geothermal heating and cooling system, generous amounts of natural daylighting, extensive use of recycled materials and systems, numerous bioswales and other natural catchments, and other up-to-the-minute green features. More importantly, it returns a significant portion of formerly “developed” urban area to a “natural” state (in the form of a public park, school sports fields and several outdoor nature explorer classrooms). And, perhaps most critically, it rejuvenates and “recycles” an existing, older neighborhood taking full advantage of all of the embodied energy and infrastructure that such a neighborhood has to offer.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

As KEN HINTON and DEBBIE WORSEMYER said, "build it and they will come", hmmmm, they were wrong. We all knew it too! As much as I love the children in district 150, I love being in a place where the leaders have a brain and schools are taken care of!

Anonymous said...

u should really look for work elsewhere, if your attitude would be employable in any other district.

Anonymous said...

They probably don't want to turn the sprinklers on cause the kids would play in them.

Anonymous said...

How shocking!!! This only validates that the leadership in PSD 150 cares nothing about the community. A Superintendent who cared about her schools would not allow a new school that is supposed to be a showcase for the community to be totally neglected and under used.

Who is Director of Building and Grounds? That person needs to be accountable.

2 Anon said...

This is an indictment on the city of Peoria, also. City leaders should be on top of this as well. The BOE and city council are just jokes. The do not care about the citizens, especially the children, of this community!

Dennis in Peoria said...

Good article, Emerge. Fair and balanced, no bias.

Emerge Peoria said...

Is that sarcasm Dennis?

Dennis in Peoria said...

No, none at all. A true sincere job well done.

Emerge Peoria said...

I'm really disappointed with what is (not) going on with this facility. It really good be a jewel in the East Bluff, but it's not.

meanjarhead said...

Holy crap are you a mind reader i was driving down Wisconsin last night and got pissed do to Glen Oak looking the way it does and the sprinklers are running at the admin building. WOW, However the school was being used today there was about 500 people there taking part of some activity it brought my heart joy to see it being used. You do make a very good point However i believe the park at Glen Oak is in a partnership with the park district. i see the school custodians out there working all the time. but have yet to see a park district truck there. another thing you are right about Emerge is Yes it could be a jewel but the neighborhood as a whole needs to see it that way not just us few. Thank you Emerge.

Anonymous said...

There is NO sprinkler system, it is left to the custodians to water. The reason there are so many dead trees is because the people in the neighborhood bend/break the branches even when we, the teachers BEG them not to because they need to grow and provide shade. Very difficult for some to see the BIG picture. I agree, Hinton et al. did a terrible disservice to the people of Peoria and the East Bluff with regard to this building. There is NO WAY this school can handle 7th and 8th grade, it is packed to the gills (850 students)when it was built to hold 600. Its like an overcrowded prison, the students rebel. I could go on and on, being at Glen Oak during this building process, but, it falls on deaf ears and no one wants to hear the truth. Oh, did anyone hear about the unconscious man found face down outside Glen Oak this morning? Ambulance personnel were able to "revive" him and all he could mutter was, rough night last night.....yep! That is what the students we serve live with....how sad, yet it's our fault they aren't learning...

Anonymous said...

The Park District was supposed to be involved but so far Dr. Lathan has not allowed them to do any programming at GO.

meanjarhead said...

I have seen Artie and Tim run hoses out to the big field to water it and all the sudden they don't do it any more The problem with the tree's is they where transplanted at the wrong time of year and this is a shock season for the the drought is not helping At the last count there was 6 dead tree's out of the group good odds for what was done. I love this building and i adore most of the people inside of it i wish everyone on the outside of it felt the way the people on the inside feel about it.

Anonymous said...

BTW, there was a huge "block party" out in front of Glen Oak today. Lots of "dignitaries" giving their adoring speeches, then quickly exiting in their BMW's and Mercedes...lol
Lots of free food passed out to people in the neighborhood and people NOT from the neighborhood also took advantage. I saw lots of people (young and old) throwing their garbage on the ground. Fortunately, the group that put on this "get together" also had people come and clean up afterwards. Didn't Hinton always say.....oh, they won't sh$$ in their own nest. Guess what Ken.....they do, since there is no feeling of ownership.

Rixblix said...

Grass goes dormant in extreme heat. I wonder, if D150 WAS watering how many would be pissed off about the water bill?

Emerge Peoria said...

Of course, grass goes dormant in extreme heat. The grass is just an outward symbol of how the entire building is dormant.

Randall said...

Exactly Rib. How many would be bitching that the District was throwing away money on watering and landscaping?

Emerge Peoria said...

It was an event put on by Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Their motto is "Helping Neighbors Build Communities."

It is a national organization that provides grants to non-profits in cities across the country in the hopes that funding may be used to improve low income areas.

Emerge Peoria said...

Don't they water and landscape every other property? Do you hear anybody bitching? I see regular landscape maintenance happening at the Administration and Von Stuebin, and so it should. It's called taking care of the property - there is a budget for it.

Anonymous said...

It makes no difference whether people in the neighborhood are responsible. There still needs to be someone required to take care of the grounds of that facility. Putting the blame on the kids or the residence of the neighborhood still doesnot excuse the District. I think noone cares about Glen Oak. The Superintendent should be ashamed.

Dennis in Peoria said...

We had a similar Block Party down by Harrison Learning Center, with PCCEO working with LISC. LISC is working with PCCEO in the Harrison Impact Zone area to turn things around. I believe the Boys/Girls Club will be coordinating with LISC for the Glen Oak Impact area. LISC will serve as a bridge between foundations and other resources for those agencies to do development and impact those areas in a positive way. Caterpillar Foundation helped get this started with a $3 million dollar grant. More news, info to come soon.

Emerge Peoria said...

This is not just about the District school, this is about a huge building with the words "Community Learning Center" over the door, sitting on four city blocks, in the middle of the East Bluff, that is supposed to be a "public park", have "school sports fields and several outdoor nature explorer classrooms." It isn't, it doesn't.

meanjarhead said...

That is what i am talking about is a feeling of ownership this is OUR neighborhood we live here we need to take pride in it. I love these old houses in this old Irish Catholic neighborhood with 5 bedrooms and no closets these houses have character and it is a shame that the scum lords came in here bought everything up and rented it to anyone with a hundred bucks in there pocket. If the city want to save The East Bluff help Make Home ownership easier. If you own part of the neighborhood you will be proud of the neighborhood.

C. J. Summers said...

The old building didn't need to be replaced and they didn't need four city blocks to build a new building even if the old one did need to be replaced. This was part of Ken Hinton's "ya gotta have 15 acres" philosophy of building new schools.

Anonymous said...

For the last several weeks, Manual has had their sprinklers going on the football field.

2 Anon said...

Hopefully, Caterpillar and LISC are going to be the impetus for big improvements in the Glen Oak School area and Harrison. The fares today were well-attended, and look promising. Three million bucks might straighten things out on both ends of town. If they own it, maybe they will take responsibility for the needed improvements.

meanjarhead said...

Awesome!

Ramble On said...

I hope residents will take part in the LISC survey. I have my appointment that was made at the event on Thursday. If you live in the East Bluff and did not make an appointment, representatives will be at the East Bluff Housing Services (corner of Nebraska & Wisconsin) Monday through Friday. Stop and make an appointment. As far as activities, plans are one thing, funding from the State of Illinois (way behind in payments) is another. It will take time and volunteers to fully utilize the building. This is one of the issues that should be brought up in the half-hour interview with LISC. Perhaps part of the funding for "quality of life" issues could go toward that project. I remain hopeful for the survival of the East Bluff and Glen Oak Family Learning Center. I live two houses outside of the Impact Zone and I plan to bloom right where I am planted!

Ramble On said...

Went past this morning and the sprinklers were going. There are fair sized areas of GREEN grass and a lot of live trees. It is not all doom and gloom! The black pillars (that were losing paint or powder coat) at the entrance were even repainted earlier this summer!

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that. I hope they keep it up!!!!

Anonymous said...

I HATE TO B DEBBIE DOWNER BUT I HAVE BEEN TO PLENTY OF THESE PLANNING SESSIONS IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS. I HAVE BEEN INTERVIEWED, I HAVE DONE SURVEYS, I HAVE COLLABORATED AND???????????????????????????????????? NOTHING. TWO BIG EMPTY BUILDINGS WITH NO PROGRAMS AND BARE NEIGHBORHOODS AND MOUNDS AND MOUNDS OF PAPERWORK,

Emerge Peoria said...

Yes there are patches of GREEN grass and a lot of live trees, however, there are also several dead trees. I believe the photos above, which were taken about three days ago is an accurate depiction of the state of the landscaping. Nothing in Peoria (or life) is all doom and gloom (at least not from my perspective).

I'm pleased to hear that the sprinklers are on today.

2 Anon said...

Debbie Downer, do your screaming at home, leave it off Emerge's blog. When you type in all caps, you show poor e-etiquette, or you just don't know, that you are shouting. Please get with the 21st century and be respectful.

Anonymous said...

i didnt mean to have the caps button on. Sorry! Oops.

meanjarhead said...

6 dead tree's i counted this morning, and there is a lot of tree's with damage from people puling branches off. 2 of the dead tree's are dead from people braking branches off. The big field where the weeds are going nut is the part called the soccer field. I am getting to the point of thinking that Lathan wants it to look bad right now. however after the start of this school year where the new principal will have every thing Annette Colman begged for i am sure that Lathan will turn on the sprinklers and fire up the rainbow machine to make Glen Oak look like the wonderful place it can be so she can take credit for it.

Emerge Peoria said...

By the way... the grass looked like this before the drought.

Anonymous said...

Emerge, thanks for the awareness regarding Glen Oak. I think your bringing it to the attention of the community has generated positive results. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

The grass at Harrison looks like a field of straw. No programs going on there either.

tls1995 said...

What kind of survey are they doing exactly? And are they only there during working hours (i.e. 9am-5pm? I really would like to participate if by doing so it helps the East Bluff and Glen Oak but I do work for a living. When I got the post card about yesterdays event I was disappointed to see that it was smack dab in the middle of the work day not to mention the work week.

Chef Kevin said...

I can't believe the pillars needed to be re-painted/powder coated so soon on a new building. In fact, they were like that months ago. Great shoddy workmanship; hope the school district didn't have to pay to have that done so soon. Who was the company responsible for the original work on those?

Emerge Peoria said...

There are also pieces of the pediment missing from the facade over the arch.

Ramble On said...

She is not starting until 10 AM and I am sure she will make time available after work hours. Call EBHS and talk tp the LISC rep.

Ramble On said...

So why not one more time? LISC .has an excellent reputation nationwide and a good sum of CAT money to start-up.

Anonymous said...

She drove by a school during a drought and wrote about brown grass. way to get the scoop. in further news the sun will come up and wait for it go down.

Sharon Crews said...

Glen Oak (when it was originally planned) could have held all grades. However, no one considered how closing so many schools would impact Glen Oak and Harrison. The original concept of all that green space was unrealistic anyway because District 150 isn't going to pay custodians (or grounds keepers) to do all the work necessary. The original plan to have the school built near Glen Oak park was more workable--trying to duplicate the "park" atmosphere in the current location is just asking too much. I am confused (or lack information) about the claim that the park district was supposed to help maintain the grounds at the new Glen Oak. Is that true?

Meanjarhead2 said...

I heard that Glen Oak is going to have 8, yes 8 Kindergarten classes, 7 1st grade classes, 5 2nd grade classes, 4 3rd grade, 4 4th grade, 4 5th grade, and 4 6th grade classes. WHERE are all the classes supposed to be....there is not enough rooms in that school to properly educate that many students. This is warehouse mentality on the part of administration. WHY would you put so many NEEDY children in ONE building? Okay, lower class sizes, big deal....when there are still 200 Kindergarteners in ONE building. Shame on Wisconsin Ave. for "warehousing" these children, then blaming their lack of achievement on the principal and teachers. Especially, when there are so many other schools that have very small numbers of students. Why is it so hard to figure out that smaller groups(schools) generate higher scores and brighter students who feel "special"?

shay said...

CInewsnow (channel 19 & 25 website) top featured story right now: How to keep your grass green during a drought.
they'll probably be cutting in regular programming for that one.

meanwhile nothing yet on any media about armed robbery shooting at Shell Gas Station at Knoxville and Nebraska around 11 pm last night.

EmergePeoria actually did get the get on what 19 & 25 will be featuring as news this weekend, leaving channels 31 & 43 and newspapers of record in the dust!

Randall said...

The football field at Manual has a well and pump system. It also has a very unique tile drainage system under the field.

Randall said...

The football field at Manual has a well and pump system. It also has a very unique tile drainage system under the field.

Dennis in Peoria said...

The huge parcels of grassy areas in Marquette Heights, including by the Elementary School, are just as brown, not much green. This drought has affected everyone.

Unknown said...

The grounds are taken care of thank you person who has no clue what they are talking about.

meanjarhead said...

If you are going to be sporting that name you better know what the Crucible is Bucko