In March 2019 AbbVie announced a $40 million donation to support the redevelopment of the Neal Math and Science Academy. AbbVie created a new foundation, The North Chicago Education Fund (NCEF), and together with North Chicago Community Unit School District (CUSD) 187, they selected IFF to serve as the project developer. IFF is a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), headquartered in Chicago, with a 31-year track record of successful community development throughout the Midwest by providing capital solutions, real estate solutions, research and programmatic support and serving as a developer for vital non-profits across a variety of sectors.
This donation will provide a safe and modernized learning environment that will foster student success through creating community and connection. The core educational program and exploratory learning opportunities will address their academic and social-emotional learning needs, valuing the whole child.
The school’s name and location will remain the same, retaining its strong connection to the community. In a phased approach, the new middle school will be built for use and occupancy starting in August 2021. The existing gymnasium will be preserved and renovated by August 2022 as an homage to the history and pride that Neal Math and Science Academy carries for the North Chicago community. In addition, sustainability measures include repurposing the building, given the sound structural integrity of the existing building. The existing classrooms and school building will eventually be demolished as part of the project by August 2022, after all students are attending school in the new building. The overall site will be fully redeveloped and restored by August 2022. The school’s size will increase to 93,000 square feet from 89,000 square feet and will support at least 625 students. This transformative project is predicted to grow the graduation rate from 60% today to at least 80% for our students over the next five years.
Community Advisors: IFF and North Chicago School District believe that community engagement is a critical piece for ensuring long-term success of the project. The team created two formal avenues for integration of community input into the design and development process:
IFF and North Chicago School District believe that community engagement is a critical piece for ensuring long-term success of the project. The team created two formal avenues for integration of community input into the design and development process including the Facilities Advisory Committee and the Community Advisory Committee.
Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC)
The FAC is comprised of individuals from CUSD187, the CUSD187 Board, representatives from the base, advisors to the City of North Chicago, and members of the CAC. The FAC provides various levels of community engagement related to project, such as project vendor list development, program and building design, FFE procurement, input on various stages of design, and other project functions. The FAC meets every first Thursday of the month.
Community Advisory Committee (CAC)
The CAC is a team focused on family and community engagement and is comprised of students, teachers, parents, and district staff. The purpose of the CAC will be to gather and solicit feedback on the design and construction process to ensure it reflects the community’s needs, wants and desires. CAC will work to inform key stakeholders of the progress and status of the middle school and promote and improve communication with the community of North Chicago. The CAC meets every first Thursday of the month.
If you are interested on serving on the FAC or CAC, please provide your contact information here, and we will follow up with you.
Neal Teaching and Learning Taskforce (NTLT)
The NTLT is a group of Neal teachers and staff that are guided by three goals. First, they participate learning activities, including site visits, to deepen staff understanding of programmatic implementation of a pod model. Secondly, they utilize those learnings to create professional development for Neal staff related to using this model. Finally, the NTLT provides design input and solicits feedback from other Neal staff related to building program and design.