Posted by Wes Baumann
There were 23 members in attendance at this week’s meeting, including corporate members Mark Shusteff, Facility Operations manager at the Community House and Mary Komlofske, the Program Director at the Winnetka Youth Organization.  And making a rare appearance at lunch was loyal member Tom Evans.  We had one guest Scott Birkenstein, Eric’s 9-year-old son who was on Spring Break from the Glencoe School system. The lunch was held in the new staff dinning room at the Winnetka Campus of New Trier High School. 
President Tom Nash announced the birthdays of Todd Stephens (26th), Rich Lalley (29th) and new member Gerry Keenan (31st).  Tom also announced club anniversaries:  John Thomas (5th), Terry Dason (7th), Heather Higgins (23rd) and Denny Lauer (43rd).
The president then inducted new member Gerry Keenan, who was sponsored by Rich Lalley.  Gerry’s classification is ‘International Aid Management.’  Gerry lives in Glencoe and is associated with the Trees that Feed project.  He will be helping our club with the Haiti project.  Gerry received a standing ovation from the membership. 
Tom announced the District Conference that will be held at the Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, Wisconsin from May 17th to the 20th.  Every member should have received an email invitation with details from District Governor Don Brewer.  He also announced a program “Empowering Leaders” to be held at Oakton Community College on April 8th from 8:00 a.m. until noon.  John Thomas announced that the New Trier Township government will hold a meeting on Tuesday, April 10th at the Nielsen Senior Center in Northfield.  The subject of the meeting is “Making a Difference Right Now.”  Rich Lalley encouraged members to consider attending the District’s trip to Miller Park in Milwaukee on September 1st for a Cubs-Brewers game.  A great tailgate party will precede the game.  Tickets are only $75 now for the game and the tailgate party.
Happy Buck$ came from Mary Komlofski for Liz Taylor’s bank becoming a corporate sponsor of the YO’s Annual Benefit on April 14th; Patti Van Cleave for John Thomas filling in for Program Chair David Birkenstein for securing a number of speakers for our upcoming meetings; and Wes Baumann in gratitude for the card and kind sentiments sent by the club to his wife her recovery from a fractured hip.
Heidi Sibert provided a great religious golf joke for Dig ‘n Grin.
The feature of the meeting was a tour of the second and final phase of New Trier’s teardown and replacement project that was completed this past fall.  The tour was led by Gerry Munley, Assistant Principal for Administrative Services.  Gerry will be retiring this June after serving as a Chemistry teacher, Science Department Chair and now as an Asst. Principal.   Overall, New Trier tore down the 1912 cafeteria, the 1931 Tech Arts building and the 1950s Music Building.  The school was able to more than double the square footage on the same footprint. 
The new building includes a new cafeteria and a new library. The lower level has new facilities for the teaching of applied arts - transportation and engineering as well as culinary arts. There is also a new scene shop that is at the stage level for the new two-story 250-seat McGee Theater and the new black box theater that has flexible seating.  The music department has been significantly upgraded where they now have five new music rehearsal rooms that are two stories high for better acoustics.  
The new addition includes six new art studios on the 4th floor that open to a green roof.  The students raised $100,000 for the green roof.  One of the studios we visited was for glass art, like glass blowing.  Fifteen years ago the course did not exist, now the studio has classes all nine periods.  There are three new science labs on the third floor.  Thirty years ago NT students average two years of science in their four years.  Now the vast majority of students take science all four years.  Today’s students are carrying much heaver loads than in the past.  Many of the new classrooms now have new flexible furniture for a variety of educational experiences.  In the older part of the building the standard classrooms are approximately 600 square feet.  In the new regular classrooms the space has been expanded by 50% to 900 square feet to provide for a variety of arrangements of the desks.  Some spaces have moveable glass walls that provide for traditional size classrooms that can be opened for large group settings. 
The five-story atrium allows an enormous amount of natural light.  A new student center has replaced the old lounge, affectionately called the ‘Scrounge’ that opens up to the atrium on the lower level.  Ten years ago New Trier had only one elevator; it now has four elevators that make almost every area handicap accessible.  Throughout the new addition there are many places for the students to gather to do school work or just relax on soft upholstered furniture.  Most of the students now ‘hang out’ in the new addition.  The addition cost a little more than $103 million – $87 million came from a referendum and the rest from reserves.  From this reporters (also a township taxpayer) point of view it was well worth the investment!