Grant School/112 Years and Closing Before the final day of classes at Grant Elementary School, Daniel Barajas, a sixth-grade student, waits to help students cross the street as part of his safety patrol responsibilities. The 112-year-old school is closing after the district decided it would be too expensive to overhaul. As everyone scurried to pack up their pens, papers and paintshirts, a thirdgrade student paused momentarily to listen to the faint sound of chimes. "I can hear the bell," she announced, a hint of sorrow in her voice. Silence immediately fell over the classroom as everyone stopped and turned toward the window. For a few seconds they all listened as the school bell continued to ring at somewhat even intervals. After 112 years, Grant Elementary School in Elgin wrapped up its final school year. The two story, red-brick building was tagged for closure five years ago by a team of building experts. Its cavernous basement and a difficult floor plan were deemed beyond repair or renovation. Students will be sent to neighboring schools instead. "It's old, but it's not like really trashy," fifth-grader Diana Tinajero said. "I've touched a lot of lives in here," said Shirlene Hogue, who began her teaching career at Grant 23 years ago. "I hope it's been a positive experience for them." -by Charla Brautigam. Students return to Lisa Rabe's third-grade classroom after watching a video with students in Diane Peterson's class. It was one of their final activities on the last full day of classes at Grant. The end of the school year-and the closing of Grant School-does not mean an end to classwork. Sixth-grader Christina Keo and partner Tobi Chestnut contemplate a math assignment in Betsy Kurcz's class. Sixth-grader Joey Lawrence tapes packed boxes in Kay Flores' kindergarten classroom as she gathers her students to watch a video. The materials will be shipped to Flores' new teaching assignment. Kindergartners and fourth-grade students play together during recess, moving all about the schoolyard and over the playground equipment. Their teachers agreed they had never seen the two groups play together before the final day. Grant School principal David Wedemeyer talks with second-grade student Shaniqua Fort as she and her classmates prepare to return to their classrooms after an assembly. One of the reasons for closing the school is the high price of upgrading the gym and its facilities. Wedemeyer will transfer to Hillcrest Elementary School. Sixth-grade teacher Susan Seyller beats Ansu Kpandeyenge and Steven Clark at cards as they wait for the final bell. "I had to let her win," Clark said, "She'd have given me a bad grade." As a final gesture, students and teachers had the chance to ring the school's bell. Older students helped the younger ones tug on the rope in the basement that lead to the bell on third-floor roof. With grade card in hand, Kyle Barth gets a final hug from his first-grade-teacher Shirlene Hogue as classes let out for the last time. Hogue started her teaching career 23 years ago at Grant School. She will be teaching at Coleman Elementary in Elgin this fall. After students had cleared the building and most of the rooms were empty, Ciarra Rodriguez packs the last remaining items belonging to fellow teacher Betsy Kurcz. Kurcz missed the last two days of school at Grant delivering a baby.