Dist. 205 focusing on aggressive high school renovation plan

While no action was taken Monday night, District 205 administrators appear to be focusing the high school renovation work towards closing the building down during the 2020-21 school year.

Board members were given a breakdown of cost estimates for the district to rent modular classrooms and a rough breakdown of where students would attend class during the renovation work.

“It says vacate the high school during the 2020-2021 school year to allow for the completion of all construction if possible,” Superintendent Dr. John Asplund told board members.

“The high school would use Gale, Rose Hoben Welch, Wicall, and four modular classroom units. And those modular units ten classrooms per units so that’s 40 modular spaces. Wicall gym would be used as a cafeteria and Thiel Gym would remain open for volleyball, basketball, wrestling, and student assemblies.”

The modular classrooms that Asplund brought up are pods of ten classrooms that provide bathrooms, air conditioning, wifi, and whiteboards. He said that these classrooms are better than what many teachers have now.

Asplund said that the more aggressive, closing the high school option, would be over a million dollars less than keeping the building open during the renovation work.

The expectation is that the costs to relocate the students for the year would be $1,344,675.

The second option, which involved renovating the building wing-by-wing while class was still going on would cost the district $2,357,629.

The main difference between the two is the number of modular units the two options utilize, and the projected time frame, as well as keeping Churchill open for an additional year.

The presentation identified the more aggressive option as a “1 Year” option but Asplund said that calling it that was misleading, saying it may take longer.

Besides the cost differences, there were general safety concerns about keeping the high school open during construction work.

“In either scenario, we’re trying to empty a lot of the high school because either it’s a safety issue for students, a dust issue for students, electrical, sewer, water, gas, all of those problems exist by keeping students in the building.”

The board indicated that the administration was to focus on the more aggressive plan due to the safety concerns as well as the lower cost and projected timescale.

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