Crime & Courts

D-155 sued for more than $50K over ‘unsafe’ high school foyer-area

District official declined to comment while the litigation continues

Graduates line up in "The Pit" before Crystal Lake South High School's 2017 Commencement Ceremony at Crystal Lake South High School Saturday, May 27, 2017.
Graduates line up in "The Pit" before Crystal Lake South High School's 2017 Commencement Ceremony at Crystal Lake South High School Saturday, May 27, 2017.

A woman who tripped and fell at Crystal Lake South High School is suing the Community High School District 155 Board for more than $50,000 in money damages claiming the district failed to maintain its property.

Margaret Cole was attending a graduation ceremony May 19, 2017, at Crystal Lake South High School when she fell in what her attorney described as a “sunken” foyer-area. The board is accused of designing the foyer in a “careless” manner, not equipping it with railings or barriers and failing to warn people the area was sunken, according to the complaint.

Cole sustained “permanent” injuries as a result and is seeking more than $50,000 in money damages for physical and emotional suffering, according to the lawsuit.

Reached by phone Friday, the woman’s attorney, Kelly Lancaster, declined to comment on the lawsuit or elaborate on the accusations against the school district.

A civil complaint, filed in McHenry County court March 6, accuses the district board of failing to maintain the property in a safe condition and designing the foyer in an unsafe manner.

“... [Cole] was caused to trip and fall, while traversing the foyer striking the floor with great force of violence and sustaining serious and permanent injury ... .” according to the complaint.

It was not immediately clear what kinds of injuries Cole suffered or what her condition was Friday.

District 155 Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operation Jeremy Davis also declined to comment while the litigation is ongoing. The case is scheduled for a conference June 5 in McHenry County Court. The district board had not filed a response as of Friday.

District 155 began construction projects at all four high schools last summer as part of its 2018 Capital Improvements Project.

The district board previously approved $13,973,365 in capital projects for necessary maintenance and upkeep of the district’s schools.

Renovations include water lines, roofs, track resurfacing, parking lots, clock intercom systems, door replacements, tennis courts and air conditioning for the cafeteria and kitchen at Crystal Lake Central.

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