Another step toward formulating a master plan for capital improvements at and was taken by the Township High School District 113 Board of Education at its meeting Monday.
The Board received a preliminary time line for the development of the plan from the architecture firm of Perkins & Will. At next month’s Board meeting, Perkins & Will will offer a firm schedule with a maximum cost for plan development.
The preliminary presentation raised persistent questions from Board President Harvey Cohen about whether to spend any money on the next phase of the study without a definitive answer on whether preservation of the 1914 Buildings at Highland Park is feasible.
“I’m reluctant to approve any money at all until I know it’s feasible to rehab the 1914 buildings,” Cohen said. “No one has been able to give us a good use of them.” Cohen asked the question of Perkins & Will’s Mark Jolicoeur three times during the architect’s presentation.
Jolicoeur was unable to give a specific answer because he must digest and incorporate the abundant information he has already received. The preliminary timeline was not made available to the public. “It has become a circular discussion,” he said.
District 113 Superintendent George Fornero was less concerned than Cohen at the lack of a specific answer from the architect. “I respectfully disagree,” he said. “He (Jolicoeur) said a specific (plan) can be gauged.”
Some idea of the cost to develop the master plan was offered by Jolicoeur. It was less than numbers which had already been suggested.
“Based on my experience with like two school districts like this one I initially thought the cost was $140,000,” Jolicoeur said. “With the value of what you have provided it could be between $115,000 and $130,000.” He also indicated a potential 30 percent rebate was possible if the work goes forward.
over the last year. Jolicoeur started to distill the data to develop the preliminary schedule and will further incorporate all of it into a final timeline and master plan.
“We are synthesizing all the information,” Jolicoeur said. “We received the leadership report and are reviewing what is in that proposal. We received the Education First report and are merging that into our overall synthesis.”
Jolicoeur wants to develop a master plan which will mesh physical facilities with educational needs on a long term basis. “We hope we have a master plan that 20 years from now looking backward it is an acceptable facility,” he said.
The Board did approve a bid from BTC (Building Technology Consultants) for engineering services to the nearly century old buildings that make up part of Highland Park’s campus. The Board acted after previously tabling the matter to learn if BTC’s services would work in conjunction with Perkins & Will. Jolicoeur gave an affirmative answer.