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113 Takes Another Step Toward Master Plan

Architect gives first inkling a timeline for capital improvements to Highland Park and Deerfield High Schools.

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.

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Ed Brill June 13, 2012 at 03:22 AM
That's just not true. The analysis provided only supported 40% of the assertions with actual quantitative survey data. The other 60% were made with no supporting evidence. Even the 40% seemed very selective and of course, only the primary response on them was provided in the report-out. And it is factually incorrect that "everything in that was in the survey" was reported on, because there were questions in the survey as to whether the administration was trustworthy, and the result of that question has certainly never surfaced. I am not sure why you would spin it any differently when the facts do not support you.
Carl Lambrecht June 13, 2012 at 07:58 AM
I agree the market research team did a professional survey. Yet twice was displayed a slide showing the 37 criteria. This slide the Administration does not wish to display for the public. www.openthebooks.com
Dan Jenks June 13, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Perhaps Trip or Richard Becker or someone else more knowledgeable could shed some light on Mr. Cohen’s concern? My understanding is that the District (specifically the 1914 Buildings Committee) has determined that it is feasible to “rehab” the 1914 buildings and these structures are well built. I further understand that several different engineers have opined that it is possible to remedy the moisture issues in the 1914 buildings at a fraction of the cost (i.e., 25% or less) of building new structures. By “rehab” I mean to do only the very basics (i.e., stop the moisture issues, fix the plumbing, bring the electrical wiring up to Code) at a reasonable expense (i.e., less than 50% of the cost of building a new building).
Dan Jenks June 13, 2012 at 03:07 PM
My understanding is that the debate now largely revolves around (a) changes to uses in the B and C buildings and (b) upgrades to their function. One side believes that the interior of these buildings should be laid out pretty much as they are now and used the same way they have in the past. The other side (which I’m on) believes that a comprehensive analysis of HPHS’s current needs and the needs of 21st century students should factor into the analysis. Mr. Cohen’s comment makes me wonder if my understanding about the condition of the B and C buildings is correct? If we aren’t confident that the basic issues can be remedied in a cost effect manner, then Mr. Cohen is right and we should spend money to do a thorough analysis of this question. On the other hand, if my understanding of the condition of these buildings is correct, then the District would need to do a much broader analysis to determine if, on balance, keeping the B and C buildings makes sense.
Carl Lambrecht June 13, 2012 at 09:24 PM
We have a law in Illinois which makes any construction for a school 10 to 30 percent more expensive. We need to correct these laws for the children sake. Families are forced to buy books in a public school for there children. The maximum cost is now $125 for one book. Yet the superintendent receives a free car at taxpayers’ expense for his personal use. Think how many books the school could buy if the superintendent bought his own car. www.openthebooks.com
David Greenberg June 13, 2012 at 11:46 PM
I'm one of the people asking for the raw data, and I assure you Ms. Karp that I know precisely what I am asking for. I and others, would like the opportunity to review and analyze the data ourselves. We'd like the opportunity to review the data against your results. We'd like the opportunity to review the methodology. And we'd like the opportunity to have others review our findings based on our methodology, and allow others to compare/contrast the two. Then we can discuss any differences...
David Greenberg June 13, 2012 at 11:50 PM
The 1914 buildings are very well built. The major question is what use will they have? It could be that they're no longer used as classrooms, but are used as offices. Or some combination thereof.... But that was not something we decided - it's up to the Architect. And what those buildings are ultimately used for (if they're saved) depends on how it all fits into the Master Plan.
Walter (Tripp) Hainsfurther June 14, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Dan: Please note that what follows are my opinions, not those of the committee. I believe that Harvey is concerned that we will be expecting to preserve the 1914 buildings without a cost/benefit analysis being completed on the value of doing so. My feeling is that the exterior shell of the buildings is in a condition that the problems can be solved with little cost. The bigger issue is how to use the spaces within the buildings. For instance, some believe that the gyms in the C building should be replaced in that they are small and do not have convenient access to restrooms, water, or locker rooms. If those are relocated, then what goes there? Likewise, Building B has issues with stair capacity and restroom accessibility, not to mention the infrastructure. How much should we spend to correct those problems? Personally, I do not favor the "rehab" approach as you describe. If we want our investment in these buildings to extend their useful life 25 - 50 years we must make investments in them commenserate with that outcome. We can't just do the minimum and expect that we won't be having to make additional upgrades over that time.
Carl Lambrecht June 15, 2012 at 03:29 PM
My four children were in the school when it had its maximum population. They experienced none of the crowding issue that the administration finds now. I do know the principal of Highland Park High School cost to the district of about $220,000 was much less at that time. So the past principals expectation were not so expensive. www.openthebooks.com
Walter (Tripp) Hainsfurther June 15, 2012 at 04:22 PM
But Carl, how old are your children and how has education changed since they were in school? It's not about the past, though we need to understand that. It's about the future.
Dan Jenks June 15, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Trip, thank you for your detailed answer. It is a chicken and egg problem - i.e., Mr. Cohen doesn't want to spend the money if the rehabbing the B and C wings isn't feasible but one can't determine feasibility without understanding the cost/benefits of different options and that can't be accomplished without spending money.
Carl Lambrecht June 16, 2012 at 10:33 AM
Trip you are correct we are looking into the future. My grandchildren could not attend some of the classes my children attended. The administration destroyed these facilities at the cost of about $500,000.00. Yet these facilities were useful. In the future education will be more one to one. It will not be more brick and mortar. A new book called "Illinois Pension Scam" by Bill Zettler. can be purchased from www.championnews.net . This book will give you an idea why Illinois is broke.
Bryce Robertson June 16, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Dan - Just a tidbit, on the Finance Committee, we did discuss the importance of doing analyses on the buildings that needed attention (i.e. B and C). It was determined that spending a little extra money to make sure we are using the larger amounts of money more effectively is the fiscally prudent solution.
Anne June 16, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Mr. Lambrecht, your statement regarding "buying" books is misleading, the reason we "buy" books is because our property taxes which support the schools do not allocate money for the books to be bought and loaned to the students, furthermore it is more of a rental charge since the books are repurchased back from the students at the end of the year. I don't know of a single district except for the Chicago School District which now "loans" the books to the students, but I assure you there is a line item in the property tax bill that pays for this service.
Anne June 16, 2012 at 07:56 PM
The bickering about the 1914 buildings is simply annoying; if the Highland Park Residents want a building that does not meet ADA standards, let's just consider splitting the district into two. Deerfield Residents currently spend too much money keeping the dilapidated structure known as Highland Park High School in working order. It is now time to just split the district into two.
Ed Brill June 16, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Maybe Deerfield can secede from Lake County too, what's the point. Or even Illinois. Who needs all that historical stuff that either of those government entities pay to maintain.
Carl Lambrecht June 17, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Student pay for the books. Read the school board minutes they just increased the maximum cost to $125.00 for a single book. I am told sometimes they cannot return the books if they will not be used again. Some families this cost is a hardship. Yet the Superintendent cost the district about $270,000 dollars and he gets a free car. He is not alone with salaries over the governor of Illinois salary. www.openthebooks.com
David Greenberg June 18, 2012 at 09:33 AM
Interestingly enough - the "dilapidated structure" you call HPHS suffers from a lack of maintenance (what some would call "deferred maintenance"), and so do parts of DHS. It's one of the reasons why many on the Study Groups said that any master plan calling for spending money has to include a comprehensive maintenance plan. I believe the District has already moved in the direction of improving maintenance on the properties they own/operate.
Anne June 18, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Mr. Lambrecht you still miss the point, whether you live in Dist 113, 225 (Stevenson) or 207 or anyother district in this area, you buy your books BECAUSE there is no "property tax" provision for the schools to loan books, some schools, Dist 207 in particular and now Dist 113 allow you to price shop your books as well...The days of the schools loaning you books are long gone, UNLESS you live in Chicago, where there IS a property tax surchage for that. So are you suggesting an additional TAX INCREASE that people like yourself with no kids in school pay? WOW that would be amazing!!!
Anne June 18, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Mr. Brill, I am all for the district either combining both schools or severing the district, quite frankly the Steveson model is a better model fiscally, although there are some drawback because not every kid would get to participate like they currently do. But if you combine the schools into a single building you would save on administrative costs for one; you would also eliminate the "bondo" approach that seems to be the path that the Highland Parkers' wish to take.... It is really too bad that we didn't have the type of forward thinking that Northbrook/Glenview, Skokie/Niles did to upgrade the facilities.
Carl Lambrecht June 18, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Anne you can telephone me at 847 432 8255 We spent too much on administrative cost. This could be reduced and the money spent for books for the students/children. Cost for administrators over the cost of the governors is too much. Let’s spend money on the children not administration. A new book called "Illinois Pension Scam" by Bill Zettler. can be purchased from www.championnews.net . This book will give you an idea why public education is so expensive.
Anne June 19, 2012 at 02:39 PM
What historical value is there to Highland Park High School's 1914 building except their old and outdated, is there some FAMOUS Architect who designed them, if the District trully cared about maintaining historical structures they wouldn't have let them go for so long that it would HUGE tax burden. I am all for preservation of architectually historical building that have HISTORICAL value, but quite frankly the argument brought forth regarding these structures is laughable, if you are interested in the maintanence of historical educational structures Mr. Brill I would suggest that you take a trip down Kimball Ave in Chicago and look at how well maintained the two High Schools on that street are; or better yet look at Lane Tech High School, all three of those buildings have been maintained and renovated better then Highland Park High School.
Richard H Heineman Jr June 19, 2012 at 02:57 PM
The group did not take as a factor the preservation of architectually historical buildings. Our only concern is that we have facilities that meet the needs of the district and the students in the most cost effective way. The buildings will be kept only if it make financial sense to do so. The study group thinks that we will end up keeping them, but the numbers will drive the decision.
Richard H Heineman Jr June 19, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Please read the report of the 1914 building committee. The first point in the priority listing is meeting "Life Safety Issues (ADA, Code Compliance)". The 1914 building would need to meet this requirement in order to be considered recoverable. http://www.dist113.org/communityaction/PRAthletics%20Minutes/1914%20Study%20Group%20--%20Power%20Point%20Presentation%20to%20Leadership%20Team.pdf
Richard H Heineman Jr June 19, 2012 at 03:33 PM
The concept of combining the two schools into one was considered prior to the last referendum. It was rejected because the cost of a new school far exceeded to cost of repairing the existing schools by about $100 million. In addition there was no viable location for a new facility. Note that the HP Country club is in a flood plain and therefore not viable. I would also note that very few citizens would support closing the existing "neighborhood" schools. People like having HPHS and Deerfield HS buildings. It would not be politically viable to combine them.
Walter (Tripp) Hainsfurther June 19, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Anne: You point out an important fact. Chicago made an investment in the facilities you mentioned. Highland Park and Deerfield High Schools are part of a single district, and the funds are allocated by the Board of Education. Obviously previous Boards made choices in funding priorities that did not include a similar committment. However, I disagree that Highland Park was singled out or that it is a reflection of the community. In terms of historical value of the building, there is none. However, it is always better from a sustainability standard o keep a structure, if possible. As stated earlier, the District will do a thorough cost benefit analysis of maintaining/renovating vs. replacing before a direction is taken. Just because some favor a "bondo" approach doesn't mean that is best for the tax payers or students.
Anne June 19, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Richard; don't get me wrong, I understand the difficulties surrounding combining the two districts, however, the nonsense around the "historical" value of the these buildings is maddening, you would think you were preserving Frank Lloyd Wright structures, it is time to objectively look at the facts.
Richard H Heineman Jr June 19, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Anne: The committee did not think that they were historical. This idea was not a part of the deliberations. We looked at function and cost.
Anne June 19, 2012 at 05:38 PM
It isn't the committee I take issue with on the "historical" value, I fully understand and support the fact that the committee is viewing this as functional use, as it should be, It is the argument that these buildings have historical significance that I take issue with. The district in general has not done due diligence over the years with regard to maintenance for both buildings DHS and HPHS, thereby creating a huge finiancial burden to renovate, repair and maintain. This is easily noticed when walking through the halls of either school, in comparison with surronding schools in similar and not so similar affluent areas, i.e. Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, Northbrook, Glenview, Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Skokie and Niles. Many tax payers think that just academic standing is enough, however, since we are now the LAST in the CSL with the exception of Waukegan HS to renovate, if I were a new buyer I would already recognize that there are schools of similar size and academic standing that wouldn't require the up keep and maintenance (translated new revenue generated) to maintain. I take very strong issue with the "Better Plan" people, which simply translated is "do nothing" if we ignore it people will forget.
Anne June 19, 2012 at 05:52 PM
I didn't include the maintenance of DHS simply because of its age, but the overall maintenance and upkeep of DHS isn't any better, the difference is that because of the age of DHS the costs associated with its renovation are less and the need for improvement is less; however neither building is in the shape that someone who moved from the city to the North Shore would have expected and given the taxes paid, there isn't much to brag about when it comes to maintenance and upkeep of either building or its surrounding facility.

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