Published June 23, 2016
School construction projects under way
By Pamela Lannom
Most students are off enjoying summer camp or family vacations or time at the pool, but that doesn’t mean assignments aren’t being completed at schools in Districts 181 and 86.
Summer construction projects are underway for eight of the nine schools in Community Consolidated Elementary District 181 and both schools in Hinsdale High School District 86.
District 181 expects to complete about $475,500 worth of work this summer. The biggest project is taking place at Hinsdale Middle School, where the roof is being repaired at a cost of $278,000.
Other work at HMS includes railing installation, floor tile repair and replacement, grease trap replacement and brick repair in the boys locker room.
Another large project is carpet and tile replacement at Elm School, which is budgeted for about $105,000.
“Eighty percent of the school is getting new flooring in one way or another,” said Mike Duggan facilities coordinator for the district.
The bids for the work, which was a later addition to the summer projects list, won’t be opened until June 30. That will make for a tight schedule, Duggan said.
“I really don’t think we have enough time to do it all this year,” he said.
Other work scheduled for Elm includes remodeling cabinets and replacing the sink in the art room, replacing the Knox box (an exterior box that gives firefighters and police officers access to the building) and installing projectors in all classrooms.
Two exterior projects this summer are cooperative efforts between the district and parents.
Oak School families, students and community members raised about $100,000 to replace the school’s 20-year-old playground structure.
The old playground was demolished the week of June 9 and installation of the new equipment will begin next week.
The new playground will be larger and more modern, with a rubberized pathway and universally accessible structures. Oak School is home to the district’s specialized program.
At The Lane School, the PTO raised $12,500 to upgrade two courtyards that have been an eyesore, Duggan said.
“They are going to take up all the flagstones and replace them and make planting beds,” he said. “We’re just helping out with that and doing some maintenance work mostly.”
A fence at the school also will be replaced.
Other work taking place in the district is as follows.
• Monroe School — demolishing the existing shed and installing a new one, repairing concrete and resurfacing the parking lot, crosswalk and bus striping, landscaping and grounds work
• Clarendon Hills Middle School — replacing media resource center carpeting, installing lockers
• Prospect School — investigating and possibly repairing storm water retention
• Walker School — modifying media resource center circulation desk, removing fence
• administrative office — modifying reception area
About $900,000 is being spent this summer at Hinsdale Central High School to add washrooms across from the cafeteria, install a long projector for the auditorium, add a right-hand turn lane on 57th Street and make improvements to the cafeteria.
Students might be most excited about changes that will be made to a portion of the cafeteria.
“It’s going to have a fresh look,” said Bill Eagan, chief financial officer for District 86. “It’s going to be more of a Starbucks look and feel. It’s going to have some grab and go items.”
The new area also will feature extended hours.
“It will be open later in the afternoon, specifically with the idea that the athletes might want to grab a smoothie before heading off to practice,” Eagan said.
A portion of the cafeteria line improvements at both schools are being funded with revenue the district receives from Quest, its food service provider.
The restroom project will add six stalls to the women’s washroom, three stalls and three urinals to the men’s washroom and a gender neutral restroom at Central. Most of the asbestos abatement taking place at the school is related to this work.
Work at South includes adding washrooms by the auditorium, improving sound in the auditorium and gym, increasing ventilation in a chemical storage room and making improvements to the cafeteria line, for a total cost of about $700,000.
Work began June 1 at Hinsdale Central, and projects at both schools should be substantially completed by July 18.
The Transition Center renovation, which began during the school year, also is on schedule, Eagan said.
“We will be ready for our students in August when they start back,” he said.