Reports say 41 people were killed last night in a terrorist attack on Istanbul's Ataturk Airport.
Reports say 41 people were killed last night in a terrorist attack on Istanbul's Ataturk Airport.

The terror of travel

The more I fly, the less I enjoy it. Sure, I like the feeling of freedom, of being out roaming and seeing the world, meeting new people, tasting different food and experiencing new places. (I especially love bookstores, even in countries where I don't speak the language.)

But last night's attack on Istanbul's Ataturk Airport shakes me, even more so than other recent attacks – which surely are no less alarming and heartbreaking – because I spent some time there on two occasions earlier this year with my family.

Our tickets had been booked many months in advance, when attacks on Istanbul weren't at the forefront, as they are now. Back when Turkey still felt like a relatively safe place in a troubled part of the world.

We landed there as a connection point on the way to Europe in March, the morning after an attack on the center of Istanbul (that had put the kibosh on our hopes of getting a Turkish Air-sponsored tour of the city during our layover). The airport in Brussels had also just been attacked.

That news put me on guard ... and on edge, despite the fact that, through the airport windows, the city looked much like any other city.

When we sat during our long layover, we camped away from the heavily populated center of the terminal with its shops and restaurants. When we needed to pass the areas where folks were going through security, we gave them a wide berth, because I suspected those spots were where attacks would seem most likely.

I kept my eyes and ears open.

But we did eat meals in restaurants and snack on Turkish specialties – like Turkish delight, Turkish ice cream and the warm milky Sahlep drink – and we did visit the duty free (and the bookstore) and we did pass those security areas and we did sit for a coffee in the food court, even if only briefly.

And, as last night's attack reminded me in stark terms – because I recognized some of the places I saw in horrific photographs and footage – it only takes a second being in the wrong plac…

Fernwood Montessori is getting bigger.
Fernwood Montessori is getting bigger.

10 views of the Fernwood Montessori addition progress

Early last year, the Milwaukee Board of School Directors hired Bay View-based Foundation Architects to design an addition at Fernwood Montessori School, 3239 S. Pennsylvania Ave., also in Bay View.

By last summer, the work on the new 21,566-square foot addition, with eight classrooms, a gym, an entry atrium and more, was underway. In December, I posted a progress report.

Today, I spent a little time with architect Craig Eide and school principal John Sanchez touring the new building, which is expected to be complete by mid-July, with furniture arriving in August, for a Sept. 1 first day of school.

The project – estimated to cost $9.6 million – also includes an elevator, making the 1920s building completely ADA accessible for the first time. Modifications to accommodate the elevator will shrink four classrooms, which will be transformed into other useful spaces (such as special education rooms and the like).

Other work in the existing building will expand the cafeteria – which has traditionally done double duty as a gym, too – move the library, create a community room and turn the former library back into a classroom space to accommodate what Sanchez says will be an enrollment of nearly 750 students (up from about 720 this past year).

A couple of the new classrooms won't be used this first year, but Sanchez says growth at the adolescent level will fill one of the rooms next year and the other the year after. The school, which has been rated by the state as "exceeding expectations" for a number of years, is one of the most sought-after in the district.

Ground was broken earlier this month on a more modest, five-room addition at MPS' Maryland Avenue Montessori School, another school that exceeded expectations on last year's state report card, on the East Side. Work is underway at the site and expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2017-18 academic year.

Here are some photos of the work at Fernwood, taken today...

Cafeteria expansion. New…

The view from the northwest of the planned Maryland Avenue Montessori School addition.
The view from the northwest of the planned Maryland Avenue Montessori School addition.

5 views of the Maryland Avenue Montessori addition

The Maryland Avenue Montessori School building has been growing periodically ever since the first school was opened on the site in the mid-1860s. I won't bore you with the specifics of that timeline here, but suffice it to say that space issues have been addressed via permanent construction in 1875, 1887, 1893, 1900 and 1950. And temporary classrooms were erected on the grounds at least twice: in the 1920s and just a couple years ago.

With one of MPS' most successful and popular programs bursting at the seams of the building, it should come as no surprise that a new addition is in the works.

The modest five-classroom addition will help the program accommodate its current enrollment and some growth expected based on the K3-8 school's low attrition rate. (Disclosure: As a volunteer with an interest in school buildings, I was invited to be a part of the school-level committee tasked with gathering input from the school community about what they'd like to see in an addition.)

This plan – long preferred by the school community – followed a couple considerably less popular solutions floated by former Supt. Greg Thornton.

The addition – which has a number of design elements that reference the 1887 Henry Koch-designed building and its 1893 Schnetzky & Liebert addition – was designed by Foundation Architects' Craig Eide, who also drew the new addition already rising at Fernwood Montessori in Bay View.

The new one-story masonry structure will wrap around two sides of the gym addition, erected in 1951. The project includes an elevator that will make the building ADA accessible on all four floors.

A groundbreaking is slated for Friday, June 10 at 8:30 a.m. and work will begin soon after. The addition is expected to be completed in time for the first day of school in September 2017.

Once the addition is completed, the temporary classrooms erected on the east side of the building will be removed.

Asphalt around the addition that will be torn up for construction wi…