By Chris Fox

For The Elmhurst Independent

 

The meeting of the Elmhurst District 205 School Board had a presentation by representatives of the district’s architecture firm—Wight and Company. The representatives discussed four scenarios for upgrades to the district’s facilities. The first two scenarios were labeled as “treading water,” because they addressed basic maintenance and infrastructure needs. The third and fourth scenarios were labeled as “swimming forward,” as they included a range of renovations and upgrades to district schools.

The first “treading water” option in Wight’s presentation—entitled “Basic Building Improvements and Repairs”—had an estimated cost of about $26.1 million. According to that option, all building maintenance needs would be addressed by accelerating the current maintenance schedule.

Ebner asked where the building-improvement funds would come from without the issuance of any referendum-related bonds. Superintendent David Moyer said that money would come out of existing operating funds, including the education fund. Ebner said that the district should let the community know what programs would be cut or modified without any new referendum-related bond funding. Ebner said the district needs several million dollars up front to address current maintenance needs at the district’s schools. Lincoln School, for example, reportedly requires a minimum of $4.2 million in maintenance improvements.

 

Whelton: Expect cuts without referendum funding

Christopher Whelton, the district’s assistant superintendent for finance and operations, said that if the district doesn’t receive any new referendum-related funding, the money that would go to pay for repairs would result in budget cuts, staffing cuts and increased class sizes. Ebner stated the district doesn’t have the money to pay for its maintenance needs. She and other board members said the district needs to communicate that to district residents.

The second scenario presented by the representatives from Wight and Company had an estimated cost of about $55.4 million. That scenario included all of the repairs in the first scenario, plus secured entrances at several district schools and the addition of air conditioning at Jackson and Jefferson elementary schools.

An additional option of the second scenario, which had a total estimated cost of about $82.7 million, featured district-wide technology enhancements and an addition/renovation at Lincoln School. A complete renovation of the school has an estimated cost of about $18.1 million, according to Wight and Company’s presentation. The added cost of a small addition at Lincoln, according to the Wight and Company presentation, would be about $4.2 million.

The third scenario, which would include a new Lincoln School, a long-term addition/renovation at Field Elementary School, an addition/renovation at Edison Elementary School and the addition of two classrooms at Bryan Middle School, carries a total estimated cost of about $144.3 million. Another option of that third scenario, which carries a total estimated cost of $151.7 million, would include a new Field Elementary School instead of a renovated building.

The fourth scenario in Wight and Company’s presentation, which carries a total estimated cost of $161.1 million, includes a new Lincoln School, additions and renovations to Field and Edison, an addition of an auditorium at Churchville Middle School, as well as improvements to York’s athletic fields and modernization at Madison Early Childhood Center. A second option of the fourth scenario, which would include new schools for Lincoln and Field, carried a total estimated cost of $168.5 million.

According to information provided by the district, the $168.5 million option would have an additional tax impact of $149 on the owner of a home valued at $500,000.

 

 

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