A Roadmap of Construction


The school is facing major upgrades in the next few years – so much so that they can be hard to keep straight. Here is a guide to the renovation and construction looking forward, which, in the words of Principal Steve McWilliams, is “more than anyone could ever imagine.”

August 10, 2023: Senior lounge -> Nurse’s office

Over winter break, the senior lounge was closed due to an abatement (or removal) of asbestos, which can be a harmful carcinogen. However, next year the senior lounge in the downstairs hallway will not be returning.

“We took out the asbestos over winter break because now we can start to do some work over spring break when the building’s closed,” said McWilliams. “When August 10 rolls around next year, the new nurse’s office is ready to go.”

The nurse’s office will be both new and improved. The office will be both bigger and more open (with some windows!) to accommodate all of the high school’s medical needs. In terms of the senior lounge, however, that question remains open.

“There’s a chance that it won’t be there at the beginning of the year just because of construction scheduling,” McWilliams said. “But I think we’ve got an idea of where a permanent lounge could be.”

February 18 – March 1, 2023: Gym & Co. Improvements

The north side of the building (think wrestling gym!) will be getting a major overhaul starting early spring. This includes the health room, the spin room, the gymnastic gym and the weight room.

“When the girls’ gymnastics team ends this year in a couple of weeks, hopefully with a state title, we’re actually going to shut that gym down so a lot of construction can start there in the weight room,” McWilliams said.

April, 2023: Field of Dreams Parking

For softball fans, there’s some good news from McWilliams: “the fields are done, and they’re ready to play!”

For senior parkers, there’s some not-so-great-news: “Senior parkers, you’d like to be able to walk down the path, but we, Northern Illinois, have a concrete shortage,” McWilliams said. “The paths leading up to them are just mud, so sometime between now and then we’ll transition it to gravel. Construction and inconvenience will probably continue until the end of the year.”

February, 2023: Improved sound system

Just in time for the school musical, a new sound system has been installed in the auditorium.

“It’s a significant upgrade from what we had,” McWilliams said. “I was able to do a test run on it a couple of weeks ago at a staff meeting, and it’s a zillion times better. It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s just the first step.”

End of the school year and beyond, 2023: New Auditorium

Although the auditorium itself is in the beginning stages of the design process, it provides an unique opportunity for students interested in leaving their mark on the high school.

“We’re putting together some plans to get some student and community engagement in the design process. We’re protecting that the end result will be two to four designs from students, staff members, or community members about what a potential new auditorium could look like,” McWilliams said. There will also be an opportunity for students interested in sound engineering to contribute their skills.

“We know there are some issues with accessibility; we’re fixing the sound system; we need to try and find what kind of technology we can advance forward. That will require a referendum. I think it’ll be fun to kind of go through that process to figure out what’s best for Barrington.”

June, 2023: Improved Gym

Along with the school’s invigorated push for athletic facilities, the main gym will also be getting redone with a heavy focus on comfortability.

“When we designed [the gym], one of the things was some air conditioning and some climate control,” said McWilliams. “We really thought about noise.”

Staying on schedule is of huge importance, especially following gravel delays over the summer with FOD.

“We’re watching physical education really closely and we need to make sure that gets started on time,” said McWilliams. “Hopefully it’s June.”

September/October, 2023: Front of the building and the commons

“They’re making good progress. It’s scheduled to be done some September, October,” McWilliam said. “The impact of that is significant cafeteria space for us. The front of the building, the new atrium, will be independent learning spaces where you can eat lunch and hang out, like mini Commons rather than a big, loud Commons.”

Summer, 2023: Culinary Arts Lab

Coming this summer, the commons as we know them will be no longer. Instead, they will be replaced by a new kitchen for the Culinary Arts track.

“The majority of the commons will go away and become the new Culinary Arts lab,” McWilliams said. “It’s an industrial kitchen, like you watch on those chef shows. Right now we’ve got classes overlapping, and this will allow it so that everybody has lab space to go on.”

This, of course, means the commons will be going through some serious changes as well.

Summer, 2023: Front parking lot

This summer, the high school’s traffic will be significantly reduced.

“The front parking lot gets done this summer,” McWilliams said. “There’s going to be a road that leads from the front to the main West parking lot that gets done this summer too.”

Unfortunately, the main parking lot will not be completed until the summer of ‘24.

“[The main lot] all gets torn out, and there’s some massive safety features that go into that,” McWilliams said. “Rows to slow down traffic, additional exits, and then of course the connection to the front.”

Summer, 2024: Redo of the Cafeteria

The cafeteria of 90s movies (either fortunately or unfortunately) is officially going out of date.

“They’re going to redo the whole cafeteria,” McWilliams said. “We’re done with ‘institutional seating’; it will be seating for a restaurant. High seating, low seating, straight tables, round ones. Then there’s a really big TV. The idea is to get students to drive content.”

Student opportunities in sound engineering and advertising will be more available.