Galesburg’s Operation Rebuild Achievement revives Steele School

Inside Steele Elementary School in Galesburg, kindergartners are aiming for success. One lesson at a time, it’s just the beginning.

“That’s our future,” said Russell Squires, a Steele School parent.

That’s why Squires and his wife Angie came to school on Thursday. They’re celebrating the district’s Operation Rebuild Achievement.

“They’re excited,” Angie said.

Galesburg’s 10-year program will pump $5.5 million into Steele School. That includes more classrooms, geothermal climate control and a gym to replace shared space with the cafeteria.

“The whole new building is going to have a brand new look to it, a brand new feel to it, inside and out,” said Matt Lingafelter, Steele’s principal.

While modern renovations will give this school great curb appeal, it also sets the tone for a positive learning experience in Galesburg.

“Schools are a major reason for people moving into and staying in a particular community,” said Assistant Superintendent Guy Cahill. “Galesburg wants to continue to be at the forefront.”

There were happy faces and hard hats as youngsters shoveled the soil on Thursday. There’s praise for the penny sales tax funding the project.

In all, the district will renovate eleven buildings and spend $110 million.

Quad Cities-based Russell Construction is handing the work. They hope to have the Steele School project complete by next August.

“Despite all the money woes at the state level, this district is growing,” Cahill said. “We’re going to grow out of this recession.”

Youngsters will benefit as Galesburg prepares for the future. Like the sign at Steele, it’s building a dream every day at school.

“The kids will be even more excited to come to school,” Angie Squires concluded.

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