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D200 Staff Lays Out Renovation Needs

Most of the buildings operated by the district are in need of repairs, renovations or mechanical upgrades.

With an uncertain financial future, Community Consolidated School District 200 Superintendent Brian Harris will explore means to fund repairs and renovations to each of the 23 buildings owned by the district.

Bill Farley, assistant superintendent of business operations, presented the board of education with a rundown of the needs at each school and building operated by the school district during a committee of the whole meeting May 25. Farley’s recommendations include new flooring, heating and air conditioning units, sidewalk and parking lot repairs as well as a call to sell the old Hubble Middle School building.

“We just need to sell that building,” Farley told the board.

Because the new Hubble Middle School building is a newer construction, Farley said that building was not in need of any renovation.

In his address to the board, Farley examined each building one by one, explaining the age of each building, previous repair work and current repair needs. Other than the need to sell the old Hubble site, Farley said the most pressing need is at Jefferson Pre-School, followed closely by the School Support Building. Farley said Jefferson is in need of an updated fire alarm system and new heating and air conditioning. However, due to the state of the building, he said the board needs to consider whether or not it’s more cost effective to renovate or build a new construction. 

“(Jefferson) is a priority. It’s only had preventative maintenance and nothing big since it opened in 1958,” Harris said.  

Although Farley said most of the facilities are in need of renovation or repair, his presentation did not include any financial estimates of costs – something some board members said they wanted to see.

Regardless of which route the district takes, the renovation or new construction at Jefferson, as well as the 20 other buildings, will carry a hefty price tag. Board members discussed several funding options, including holding a referendum, life safety bonds or performance contracting.

Harris said there is another method of funding recently approved by the general assembly, which gives county governments the option of passing a school construction sales tax. However, that is something he said has not been tried in DuPage County. He did not indicate whether such a tax is politically feasible in this tough economy.

The district traditionally paid for previous renovations and construction projects through fund bonds or referendums, Harris said. But, he said it could prove to be financially beneficial for the board to take a closer look at performance contractors. Performance contracting is a construction method that allows a facility to complete energy-saving improvements within an existing budget by financing them with money saved through reduced utility expenditures. Facilities make no up-front investments and instead finance projects through guaranteed annual energy savings.

Harris said it should not be out of the question for a performance contactor to put together a proposal for the district on some of the projects.

But some board members wanted to be able to weigh traditional methods of payment alongside the performance contractor method.

“I want to see an apples to apples comparison,” said school board president Rosemary Swanson.

Board member Jim Vroman agreed. He said he wants a matrix that indicates a breakdown of costs per building as well as a prioritization of costs.

“The devil is in the details and we need that information,” Vroman said.

Harris said he could put together the requested analysis and would enter into a conversation with some performance contractors for estimates in order to provide a comparison. He did not specify if the information would be available to the board by the June 8 meeting.

Mark Johnson October 05, 2011 at 09:56 PM
Board Committee meetings don't appear on the Electronic School Board, thus don't have supporting documentation available on the Electronic School Board.
Charlotte Eriksen October 06, 2011 at 01:21 AM
Mark, I definitely know where you're coming from
Charlotte Eriksen October 06, 2011 at 01:22 AM
Mickey—this is the type of comment that should be deleted as it has close to nothing to do with the story.
Mickey Flynn October 06, 2011 at 03:28 PM
@Charlotte. I get you. What I was trying to say is that Mark Stern has been complaining about CUSD 200's lack of transparency for some time. He is like the John the Baptist of Wheaton crying out in the wilderness that tax payers need to wake up about the secret deals and meetings of CUSD 200. This story and how hard CUSD 200 makes it to find out what is going on is what Mr. Stern has been complaining about for years. Thank you Charlotte for allowing me to clarify.
Mark Johnson October 19, 2011 at 12:57 AM
N O T I C E. BOARD COMMITTEE MEETING. FINANCE POLICY and FISCAL DASHBOARD COMMITTEE. BOARD OF EDUCATION. DISTRICT 200. DUPAGE COUNTY, ILLINOIS. A Meeting of the Finance Policy and Fiscal Dashboard Committee of Community Unit School District 200, DuPage County, Illinois will be held on Friday, October 21, 2011, at 7:30 a.m. at The School Service Center, 130 W. Park Avenue, Wheaton, Illinois. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the Capital Development Plan, which includes: Debt Restructuring · Levy Proposal · Fund Balance Policy Discussion · Capital Development Board Funds Rosemary Swanson, President Board of Education, District 200 Public is invited to attend but not participate or comment.

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