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109 Air Conditioning Project Shows Teamwork

After a parent outcry during a hot start to school, a thorough approach by District 109 will make cooler classrooms on hot days a reality.

What began as a public outcry during the hottest days of last summer and a promise from Deerfield Public Schools District 109 Board of Education members and administrators to investigate turned into the reality of air conditioning for the Village’s elementary and middle schools.

Some or all of the schools will be air conditioned before the next school year begins. Starting with the two-story buildings, everything should be done before the 2014 school year begins.

Earlier: 109 Air Conditioning Project Progresses

“We’re going to make it work as best we can,” Board President Ellen London said in September.

It almost seemed like exceedingly hot weather, parent discontent and studies by the District 109 Board of Education were coming together at once to cool things off. In the end, the Board was unanimous in its decision but will spend more than it originally hoped.

“If we’re lucky it will cost $7 million,” Board member Nick Begley said in September. “If we’re not lucky it could cost a lot more. That’s why we have to make sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed.”

Though the final cost is more than twice what was originally hoped when additional capital expenditures were added, the entire project was within funds the District had set aside for long term improvements, according to comments made by Deputy Superintendent Greg Himebaugh at the Board’s Jan. 14 meeting.

“You can make it work from our existing fund balance,” Himebaugh said Jan. 14. The scheduling of the overall work allows the payments to be made in three fiscal years. “That’s kind of what I had in mind.”

Board member Steve Schwartz explained there were proposals as low as $8 million but when all needs were considered on a long term basis, the $15 million price tag made more sense including the removal of the existing wall units in some classrooms in favor of a central system.

“We have more hot days and kids with asthma and allergies seem to be on the rise,” Schwartz said. “This will do the job right. Not only is it less noisy but we would gain class space. Though the cost came in at $15 million, we planned to do a lot of the work anyway.”

Some of the work included in the proposal was planned whether air conditioning was added or not. “If you take out the total amount we would have had to do anyway, the job is closer to $10 million,” Schwartz said.

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Dylan January 25, 2013 at 04:29 AM
Ronnie - Your first post on this article was negative!!! Not sure where/how you proved me wrong but if it makes you feel better to believe, I'll go with it. Thanks for the laugh!!!
RonnieTheLimoDriver January 25, 2013 at 12:37 PM
Dylan, are you a member of the glee club? A Cheerleader? Disagreeing is not negative. Pointing out the absurdity of a situation is not negative. Dylan I proved you wrong when you thought I didn’t understand school finance because I didn’t attend the meetings. Wrong on both accounts. WRONG just like the decision to spend more tax payers money on AC that will be used for less than 3 months a year.
Dylan January 25, 2013 at 01:22 PM
Ronnie - yes I am a member of a Glee Club, a cheerleader and a happy person. I am sorry you can not say the same. Again, thank you for the laugh! I truly appreciate it.
D'skidoc January 25, 2013 at 01:24 PM
Again Ronnie: Try driving the limo on a 70 deg. sunny day with the windows closed all the time and keep the ventilation down to simulate mid-20th century minimum airflow requirements. Does your client in the back like stuffy hot air? Would you expect your accountant or lawyer to work in a stifling office and give you their best work? Why don't you think kids deserve a decent environment in which to learn? Don't you want to give those kids the best chance to be educationally successful? Or are you just a "Scrooge"?
Dylan January 29, 2013 at 01:09 AM
Ronnie - now I am going to prove you wrong....there IS wide-scale support for air conditioning our schools. Just because you do not agree with it, does not mean others feel the same. IF you REALLY attended school board meetings, you would KNOW the support this has. I have children in district 109 and not one student, parent, teacher, aide, etc has said "wow this is a stupid, wasteful idea". You might be the only one. Accept it and move on. Your energy could be better used elsewhere BTW, I also believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy

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