District 113 Master Plan Approved, Now Defining Scope

Board of Education deciding what improvements high schools will seek to implement now.

The District 113 Board of Education adopted a Long Range Facility Master Plan for Deerfield and Highland Park High Schools at their Dec. 10th meeting. Now Board members need to decide which part of the plan they will seek to implement and how they will fund these projects. 

The Board of Education and a Steering committee -- made up of community members with architecture and construction experience -- have spent an incredible amount of time prioritizing projects. The Steering Committee met with
architects at least 13 times during the design phase and Board members have been meeting with architects individually and as a group on a regular basis. 

The Board of Education will hold another special work session to prioritize projects at their January 7th meeting, which starts at 5:30 p.m. and is open to the public. The BOE will also be discussing funding options at that meeting including what the District can finance out of its annual Capital Improvements budget and whether District 113 will seek a referendum.  

“The Board is using the Master Plan as a roadmap to help determine what to do now and what can be saved for later,” District 113 Superintendent George Fornero said. “For example, if the Board of Education decides to build new multipurpose gyms for physical education at both high schools in the next five years, our architects have designed a plan so that those gyms can be turned into field houses 20 years down the road. Whatever we do now won’t go to waste in the future.”

You can review a summary of Deerfield and Highland Park High School’s Master
Plan on the District 113 website.

The Master Plan details upgrades needed to both Deerfield and Highland Park High Schools' building infrastructure including: mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems, as well as accessibility, instructional technology, and building security. It covers everything from large projects like the reconstruction of a 100 year old building at HPHS to smaller projects like the elimination of tiered classrooms at DHS to address accessibility issues. Furthermore, the Master Plan lays out how changes made now can be expanded upon in the future.

The development of the Master Plan was a more than 18 month process. In May, 2011 District 113 called on 100+ community members to volunteer for six different study groups to help analyze and prioritize the needs at both high schools. Those study groups eventually developed a list of recommendations
that were adopted by the Board of Education and used by District 113’s architecture firm Perkins+Will during their design phase. The Steering Committee
was selected to work with the architects during their development process. Plus,
the construction management firm, Gilbane, was hired to provide cost estimates
on all options.

“Our main priority was to create a long term strategy for both high schools that allows District 113 to efficiently plan for the future,” Mark Jolicoeur, Perkins+Will architect, said. “Our second task was to help the District prioritize the phases and decide when to implement them.”
District 113 plans to update the community on the Board of Education’s decisions regarding what projects to implement and how they plan on funding them at two upcoming meetings on January 23rd at 7 p.m. and January 24th at 10 a.m. Both meetings will be held in the Deerfield High School Auditorium. Community members should opt to attend one of the meetings as the information presented will be repeated.

More information on the Master Plan and the prioritization process can be found on District 113’s informational website.

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.


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