District 113 Board Prioritizes Master Plan, Discusses Referendum

The Board of Education will vote on high school projects and their funding methods on Jan. 14th.

The District 113 Board of Education held a workshop meeting on Monday, Jan.
7th to prioritize its Long Range Facility Master Plan for Deerfield and Highland Park High Schools and determine funding options. In December, the Board adopted a Master Plan that details a lengthy list of upgrades needed to both high schools. Since, Board members have been narrowing the scope of the plan and deciding which projects they will seek to implement now. The Board of Education will vote on those projects and their funding methods on Jan. 14th.   
At Monday’s meeting, the Long Range Facility Master Plan Steering Committee presented its recommendations to the Board of Education to help guide members during the decision making process. The Steering Committee is made up of a group of community members with extensive architecture, construction, and finance experience. They have been involved in the entire design phase, meeting with architects, District 113 administrators, and Board members on a regular basis.

Click Here to Read the Steering Committee’s Recommendation
The Steering Committee proposed a first phase of projects estimated to cost $120.4 Million. They tasked the District architecture firm Perkins + Will and the construction management firm Gilbane to reduce that cost through value engineering by approximately 5 percent totaling $6.4 M, which would lower the overall cost to $114 M.

“Value engineering is basically a technique of getting something at the same quality for a cheaper price,” Rick Wise, Gilbane Building Company, said.
We can use the construction of a wall as an example of value engineering. Current cost estimates for some wall structures are based on cement block with a brick exterior.  By changing these materials to a metal exterior or precast wall structure, the ‘look’ may change, but you still get the same structural wall with a reduction in price.  Plus, no structural integrity is lost.

P+W and Gilbane told Board members they believe they can cut the project cost by $6.4 M using value engineering.

Click Here to Review the Proposed Phase One Projects and Their Cost Estimates

The Steering Committee also recommended a funding methodology for the first phase of projects. Community members recommended the Board commit $25 M of District funding from current budgets to finance the first phase and seek an additional $89 M referendum bond from the community.
“We believe this is a reasonable target to present to the community,” Steering Committee members stated in their recommendation letter.
Several different April 2013 Referendum funding options were then presented to the Board by District 113’s financial advisor Tammie Schallmo with PMA Securities. For example, if District 113 sought an $89 M bond to be paid off over 20 years, the estimated District 113 tax increase for a home with a market value of $300,000 would be $47 in tax year 2013 compared to 2012.  

Click Here to Review April 2013 Referendum Options
“It’s time to refurbish, it’s time to update, it’s time to change,” Harvey Cohen, District 113 Board of Education President, said at the end of Monday night’s meeting. “People come here when their kids are going to enter school. If you want to maintain the value of your property you have to maintain and improve the value of our schools.”

The District 113 Board of Education will vote on the $89 M Referendum at its Monday, Jan. 14th meeting. The meeting will be held at the District 113 Administration Building at 6:30 p.m. and is open to the public. District 113 will update the community about the Board’s decision at two upcoming community presentations scheduled for Jan. 23rd (7 P.M.) and Jan. 24th (10 A.M.) at Deerfield High School.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Carl Lambrecht January 09, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Highland Park High School had two pools for my children. My grandchildren had only one pool. It cost $250,000 to destroy the second pool. Brad Swanson (Principal) mother in law was superintendent at the time. Highland Park High School according to the state of Illinois is a failing school for about the last five years.
Richard H Heineman Jr January 09, 2013 at 03:08 PM
The pool that Carl is referring to was built in 1914. The longest that you can reasonably expect a pool to last is about 50 years.
Bryce Robertson January 09, 2013 at 03:28 PM
A quick bit of other background: the old pool was the "girls" pool back before Title 9 came around. It did not meet IL code as it was not physically attached to the locker rooms, so it could not be used for Phys Ed or IHSA competitions. It was too small to be used by HPAC (the HPHS-affilited swim team) or other groups. The $250K figure is what it cost to fill in the pool and install four Tech Labs (interactive computer labs), a technology office, and a server room. Without these, the school would have had to repurpose existing classrooms and take away more educational space, instead of adding it. For those of you who look at time-use as a metric of whether or not something is a necessary build, the Tech Labs are often booked up weeks in advance by teachers. Many classes have to rearrange their schedule simply because we don't have *enough* computer space. This is something that is addressed in the Master Plan and the proposed final plan initially presented at the 1/7/13 Board Meeting.
District 113 January 09, 2013 at 03:32 PM
Story correction. The District 113 Board of Education meeting on Jan. 14th will start at the regular 7:30 p.m. time at the Administrative Building.
Steven N January 09, 2013 at 05:34 PM
The Board and the community have invested thousands of man-hours in research, investigation, discussion and analysis to arrive at what is a logical well thought out approach to the long range needs of the two high schools. The recommendations of the Steering Committee have taken into account a wide range of concerns, thoughts and opinions of the entire Highland Park/Deerfield community. It addresses the focus on Tier 1 and Tier 2 priorities, it incorporates the regular maintenance plan of the district into the overal Master Plan, it keeps the referendum under $100 million and it has involved particpation of community members of all perspectives. I sincerely hope that the Board approves the recommendations of the Steering Committee and that the community then has the foresight and commitment to improve the educational facilites of the community for the future through passage of the recommended referendum.


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