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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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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