Fears that this past weekend’s Kelly Road Craft Fair may have been the last, are unfounded, says Tim Bennett, chair of the School District 57 Board of Education.
While it’s true it will be the last craft fair in the current Kelly Road High School, it will certainly be welcome in the new school, slated to open in September next year.
However, the size of the fair will likely be smaller due to the configuration of the new school and fire and safety regulations.
“There’s been some anger and confusion that this may be the last Kelly Road Craft Fair,” said Bennett. “It is the largest and one of the most well-attended craft fairs in the community. There’s information spreading around that the district is not allowing the craft fair. I can say, from the board’s perspective, that is not ever anything that we communicated.”
He added that any group renting school district facilities has to adhere to fire codes and school district policies. The fire outlines how much space is required between tables and not blocking fire exits. The new school will have a different layout and that, potentially, may mean fewer tables.
“We know that is a concern to the organizers because they want to raise as much money as possible for causes, such as the dry grad,” said Bennett.
He said district staff and the organizers have gone over a lay out of the new school with the Kelly Road Craft Fair Committee.
“The district is very willing and wanting to work with organizations like the Kelly Road Craft Fair Committee,” Bennett said. “Like all of our rentals, as long as they’re adhering to things like the fire code, they’re welcome to use the space.”
Another concern is the requirement for vendors to put tarps down in certain areas.
“Part of our responsibility is ensuring that we taking the best care of our assets,” said Bennett. “In some of our buildings that have new gym floors, we want to prolong the life of that asset.”
He said construction of the new school is on time and on budget, scheduled to open in September 2020.