Lincoln Students Serving as Consultants on Renovation of Ben Fuller Farmhouse
October 15, 2012
Last October, students from Ms. Priceman’s fourth grade Spanish Immersion class at Lincoln School were inspired by a classmate who chose not to attend a field trip to Graue Mill Museum in DuPage County after he discovered that portions of the building would be off limits to him because they did not meet the requirements set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Following the trip to Graue Mill, the class began working with Mr. Mark Klancic, an Oak Park architect offering instruction through his association with the Oak Park Education Foundation, and Mr. Matt Kuntz, Lincoln’s Gifted, Talented and Differentiation teacher, to design options to ensure that everyone could enjoy the museum. The students spent seven months using Sketch-Up, Google Earth, cardboard, Exacto knives and markers to make design models; and were supported in their efforts by their friend Kris Lenzo, who shared stories of his efforts to overcome adversity and talked about how he helped make an Oak Park building wheelchair accessible. In addition to creating the models, the students generated awareness about the importance of providing accessibility for all by producing a three-act play depicting the disappointment they felt when they learned their classmate wasn’t attending the field trip because he could not participate in all of the activities.
After the students completed their plans to alter the museum in a way that would maintain the integrity of the structure while making it ADA compliant, they invited their teachers, principal, supporters and Mr. Klancic to a luncheon where they presented their designs. They also sent a letter to the members of Graue Mill’s board of directors inviting them visit their blog (http://lincolnreading1.blogspot.com/p/graue-mill-project.html) and view their work.
The last week of September, Andrea Hoyt, the director of planning for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, contacted the students to applaud their efforts to upgrade Graue Mill and invite them to work on the plan to convert the Ben Fuller Farmhouse into an education center. The students, who are now in Lincoln’s fifth grade Spanish Immersion class, will have the opportunity to participate in various aspects of the renovation project, including the selection of the architect, development of the design, creation of the construction drawings, completion of the bid process and construction. They will present their designs and models to Ms. Hoyt and her team when they visit the school on October 24.