Part of East High School Arboretum in Jeopardy


Construction under District 205's ten-year facilities plan is causing concern among some students at East High School. The issue centers around the arboretum, part of which would be torn down, to make room for parking.

Dozens of trees stand tall just east of East High School; they make up the school's arboretum.

"It kind of helps define East (High School) because it's unique like East is, and that's something special that we have, that nobody else around us has," said Tristen Legaspi, president of East's Key Club.

Legaspi is concerned a part of that uniqueness will disappear. The district wants to tear down some of the trees.

"The main entrance is behind the building, we're looking at relocating it to the East side of the building and putting a smaller parking lot, or somewhat smaller parking lot in the back quarter of the arboretum," said District 205 Chief Operations Officer Todd Schmidt.

The original plan was to put the new field house in that spot, which would've taken up the majority of the arboretum.

"We met with some of the staff, we met with the Key Club, with some students, and we re-looked at how we were going to lay out the site plan for East," explained Schmidt.

Legaspi says he's glad student voices are being heard.

"It means a lot knowing that they care how their students feel."

The Key Club will continue to voice its concerns to try to leave the arboretum completely untouched.

The district says it could eventually turn some of the asphalt it'll temporarily use for the parking lot expansion, back into green space in about a year and a half.

The district will meet with the Key Club again on Thursday. Legaspi says they'll present alternative solutions like buying some surrounding homes that are for sale, to expand in those areas instead.


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