Danville board to vote on naming alternative school for war hero

Danville board to vote on naming alternative school for war hero

DANVILLE — The Danville school district's alternative education program will move into a new home this fall, and it could get a new name as well.

Program staff is recommending that the alternative school be named after Medal of Honor recipient Major Kenneth D. Bailey.

"He's a Danville High School graduate and a war hero, so we think our kids will take a lot of pride in it," Principal Tracy Cherry said of the name, the Kenneth D. Bailey Academy — Keep Dreaming, Believing and Achieving.

The school board will vote on whether to approve it at its meeting at 6 p.m on Wednesday at the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St., Danville. A copy of the agenda is available online at http://www.danville.k12.il.us.

It also will vote on whether to approve bids for renovation work at the school site at 502 E. Main St. Bids are scheduled to be opened today, Superintendent Mark Denman said.

In addition, the board will vote on whether to purchase equipment and approve some installation work that's needed to make necessary technology upgrades in the building for a total cost of about $52,986.

The district in February began leasing the building, the former Holy Family School that closed as a Catholic K-8 school in May 2011. District officials took steps to purchase it in May, so that the district could go forward with the renovations and get them done over the summer break.

The work includes turning two locker rooms into instructional spaces, remodeling two large classrooms to create four smaller ones for middle-school programs, creating an office for a social worker and a teachers' workroom and adding security cameras and intercom and entry-access systems.

Cherry said staff gave serious consideration to selecting an official name for the alternative school.

"We didn't want 'alternative' in it," she said. "Right away, people think of bad kids. We serve all different kinds of kids in an alternative setting."

She said staff favored naming it in honor Bailey, who graduated from Danville High in 1930 and was inducted into the school's Wall of Fame in1991. In high school, Bailey excelled in sports and was a member of the student council, booster club, D Association, boys' athletic association and glee club.

Bailey earned a degree in agriculture from the University of Illinois in 1935. At UI, he was a member of the Illini football team and participated in the ROTC program.

Bailey entered the U.S. Marine Corps as a second lieutenant after college and planned to have a military career. He was killed in September 1942 during the Battle of Guadalcanal, and posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his heroic conduct during action.

"He's a great role model for our kids," Cherry said. "He exemplifies courage and sacrifice, which our students have had to do in their lives. They're dealing with a lot of tough situations going on in their lives."

Also at the meeting, the board will vote on whether to accept a bid for $278,393 from McDowell Builders, Inc. to replace the original exterior windows at Northeast Elementary Magnet School with energy-efficient "storefront" windows.

The work was required under the district's health-life safety plan.

Buildings and Grounds Director Ron Henton was pleased that the base bid to install the windows came in at $258,334. So, he's proposing that the board approve the alternate bid for adding window shades for another $20,059 as well.


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