Virus doesn't halt local construction work

COVID-19 has certainly disrupted regular school rhythms, but the absence of students has meant an early start to campus improvement work.

At the April 9 Hinsdale High School District 86 Board meeting, Chief Financial Officer Josh Stephenson updated board members on the construction timeline for Future Ready Facilities plans at Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South. Stephenson said the district has obtained necessary permits from the DuPage Regional Office of Education.

“That allows us to commence any construction projects within the buildings or the roof work,” he stated, detailing in a memo that roof work at Central has begun.

Stephenson also reported that the Village of Hinsdale April 7 approved the district’s package of zoning requests for Central concerning parking spaces and landscaping; safety netting at the baseball field at Grant and 57th streets; new fencing for the tennis courts, track, baseball field backstop and other areas; and provisions related to two soccer field team shelters and a press box.

“So we are good to move forward with some of the site work, the turf fields,” he said.

Removal of turf from the practice fields at both Central and South is scheduled to begin next week, as is work on the fence along the east property line at Central. Load testing with helical piles also has started for the new natatorium at Central.

Board President Kevin Camden said the opportunity to advance the construction timeline is a positive development.

“That’s a bit of good news in an otherwise difficult situation. We can accelerate the contracts for purposes of the turf fields and the tennis courts, which may give us some flexibility at the back of the summer,” Camden said. “If the buildings are going to be closed for circumstances beyond our control, we’re fortunate to have Pepper (Construction) be able to mobilize and move and start on projects.”

The $140 million project to renovate Central and South was approved in an April 2019 referendum.

Deck work proceeds

Construction on the parking deck for Hinsdale’s central business district continues on schedule for a targeted finish in June, according to assistant village manager Brad Bloom.

“They are still on track to meet the scheduled completion date,” Bloom said, noting that work on the bus drop-off work was on pace to be completed yesterday, after The Hinsdalean went to press.

The deck, being built adjacent to Hinsdale Middle School but being financed mostly by the village, is for both the school and village use. At the April 6 Community Consolidated District 181 meeting, board members were informed that crews were prevented from entering the school building over spring break to do scheduled deck-related work, such as plumbing and electrical connections, due to the coronavirus.

Bloom indicated that talks with district officials are ongoing to figure out how to allow that work to proceed.

“We are working with the school district to get access to the school to make necessary connections,” Bloom said.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean