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DeKalb School District breaks ground on new school and unveils name

On Thursday, the DeKalb School District broke ground on its new elementary school and revealed its name.

The school will be called the “Dr. Leroy A. Mitchell Elementary School” after the DeKalb pastor and educator.

Mitchell was the longtime director of Northern Illinois University’s CHANCE program, which provides personalized support for traditionally underrepresented students.

He’s also Pastor Emeritus of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church.

“If we give young people a vision they can see, they’ll find it’s very real and they’ll make it,” he said. “That's what we need to help kids do. We're not going to be here forever. We've got to move out of the way and allow other people to take over and do greater things.”

Dr. Leroy A. Mitchell Elementary is in DeKalb’s north corridor or “Uptown” neighborhood.

Amonaquenette Parker is DeKalb School District’s director of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She said it’s pretty simple why they need a school in this particular location.

“We have put schools where we have a place to put schools, but we neglected to put schools where children were,” she said. “We are in the service of educating children. 32% of our elementary school district students district-wide live here in the north corridor.”

Parker said the district expects the renovation plan to cost $33 million. But she said the district has enough cash saved that they won’t need extra tax support from residents.

The district plans to open the new school in the fall of 2025.

Peter joins WNIJ as a graduate of North Central College. He is a native of Sandwich, Illinois.