Board finalizing building project prices, timing
Last updated 8/28/2019 at 3:17pm | View PDF
Some $23 million worth of construction projects will begin at Hinsdale Central High School at the end of this school year as Phase 1 of $139 million worth of improvements in Hinsdale High School District 86 begins.
Initial projects at Central include the pool addition, the building and grounds addition/relocation, installation of turf in at Dickinson Field and practice fields, renovations of tennis courts, roof replacements, sewer improvements and miscellaneous ADA and life-safety improvements.
At Hinsdale South, $12 million worth of projects comprises Phase 1, including the special ed renovation, buildings and grounds addition, roof replacements, turf installation, and ADA and life-safety improvements.
Now that detailed estimates for all 77 projects have been completed, the current budget is almost $147.8 million — or 5.75 percent — over the $139.8 million voters approved in an April 2 referendum. That total includes $23 million in project contingencies for cost escalation ($5.9 million), design ($11.1 million) and construction ($6.1 million).
The overage should not cause concern at this point, construction professionals told school board members at their Aug. 22 meeting. Value based design can reduce initial estimates by up to 6 percent.
“We want to be very clear — you only have $139 million to spend,” said Lance Tritsch, project director at Pepper Construction, which is managing construction. “No one is standing here telling you that you need to increase your budget and find more money. That’s not the case.”
The district will be able to accomplish every project on the list, Tritsch added.
“We’re just going to have to be smart about how we get there,” he said.
If the estimates were not trending high at this point, the district’s vision would be too limited, said Jay Ripsky, Pepper’s senior vice president.
“Clients can have the biggest regret that they didn’t ask the right questions, didn’t think through their choices,” he said. “You’re in the sweet spot. You have this opportunity now to be confident you’re maximizing your money.”
Board member Marty Turek reassured taxpayers the board is being a good steward of their money.
“We are working on a very dynamic set of projects,” he said. “Yes, we are ‘over budget’ right now, but that doesn’t mean we are going to end over budget.”
Officials will continue to fine tune the design of Phase 1 projects, holding additional meetings with user groups and village officials and creating detailed design drawings.
More than 50 meetings already have been held with users and more than 25 other schools have been toured, said Jeff Huck, design director with Arcon Associates, the district’s architects.
“Every time we meet with them, we refine the process,” Huck said. “We refine what the spaces look like.
“No one is going to be surprised when the spaces are finally built because they are going to have had a very, very heavy level of input on this,” he added.