UPDATE: Construction on new Cherry Valley school on schedule

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Updated January 12, 2018, 10:00 p.m.

CHERRY VALLEY, Ill. (WIFR) -- "See how this will be the kitchen. That'll go to the cafeteria, which will be the commons area, right in front of the gymnasium," Todd Schmidt, Chief Operations Officer at Rockford Public Schools, explains as he stands inside the new school.

Open space and natural light is part of the plan for the new Cherry Valley Elementary School.

"And that's what we want. A lot of natural light coming in here, open area," added Schmidt.

Schmidt said this is a new idea for the Rockford area. The design of the building has been used by schools across the country. It's expected to increase student interaction.

"They went out there and looked at some other things, that were, how they're utilizing this throughout the nation to actually bring it here to our new school that we're building," added Schmidt.

One unique feature about this building is that the four classrooms in each grade are actually connected with an opening to make it easier to collaborate.

Schmidt continued, "Instead of just sitting in the classroom with those 25 kids in there, they can do some breakout and work with some other kids at their grade levels."

School officials expect the building to be ready for the 2018-2019 school year.

"We're already starting to hang some of the drop ceilings in some of the classrooms. We're already starting to do some of the painting out there, we're running the data cables. So it's coming along really well," said Schmidt.

According to Schmidt, the project is roughly 60 percent complete as most of the walls are already in place. Once finished, the school can accommodate 700 students. About 600 are expected right at the beginning.

"It's wonderful to see it from the design concept. Getting all the feedback from the teachers, from the students, from the staff. Actually designing everything up and actually seeing it built right now," said Schmidt.

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Updated January 12, 2018, 5:25 p.m.

UPDATE: CHERRY VALLEY, Ill. (WIFR) - Just days after announcing the name of RPS 205's newest elementary school in 20 years, leaders say construction is right on schedule.

Rockford School District chief operations officer Todd Schmidt tells 23 News that at the moment construction of Cherry Valley Elementary School is at about 60% complete.

The design of the building allows natural light inside and the open concept will allow classrooms to collaborate.

The school on Armer Drive is expected to open in the fall.

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Updated January 9, 2018, 8:25 p.m.

UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Rockford Public Schools says the new school opening in Cherry Valley this August will be called Cherry Valley Elementary School.

The Rockford school board agreed to the name Tuesday night.

The school, located at 6754 Armer Drive, will open for the 2018-19 school year. The $15.7 million school is the first new school construction for RPS 2015 since 1998.

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Posted November 29, 2018, 1:11 p.m.

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- More than $35 million of Rockford Public School's budget is being put into two new school buildings, and district leaders are wanting the community's input on what to name them.

With the closing of eight schools, the school board is in the process of buildings two - one in cherry valley at Harrison and Perryville, and the other on Kishwaukee Street in Rockford, just south of the current Kishwaukee School.

District leaders are asking members of the Rockford community to decide on a name for the two schools. Petitions were due yesterday for submitting a name.

Each petition had to have at least 50 signatures. Community members say that the names should be a reflection of the areas where they're built. District leaders tell me they want to make sure the schools have names that tell a story about the community.

"It's part of Cherry Valley, just like Baumann Park and the Fire Station and the Ball Diamond and everything else. It's an integral part of our community, and we'd like to keep it with that name," says Cherry Valley Village President Jim Claeyssen.

"The Board wants the input of the community when it makes these big decisions out there. These are schools that are gonna be anchors; that are gonna be here for another fifty, hundred years, says Chief Operations Officer for Rockford Public Schools Todd Schmidt.

The five names being considered for both locations are:
1. Constancy Renick Lane
2. Jane Addams Elementary School (Kishwaukee location)
3. Martin Luther King Junior Elementary (Kishwaukee location)
4. Cherry Valley School
5. Leonard B. Keller Elementary School

The district says it is very likely that one of the two schools will be named after Martin Luther King Jr.

The school district is holding another meeting at 6:30 tomorrow night at the Administration Building to discuss the names. The decision is expected to be made sometime in December or January.