Phase 2 construction on track at Central

Pool set to open next month and classroom upgrades will be ready for first day of classes

If summer is a time for leisure and soaking in the sun, no one told the folks working on the renovations at Hinsdale Central High School.

The improvements now underway are part of a $140 million facilities improvement project approved by voters in April 2019. The plan includes projects at Hinsdale Central High School, Hinsdale South High School, and the district's new Transition Center in Burr Ridge. The leased building will provide an area where young adults with special needs will be taught life skills.

"Right now all of the new stuff from the beginning of summer is on track," said Jason Oskorep, operations director for Hinsdale Township High School District 86.

Labeled the Future Ready Facilities project, the work includes, but is not limited to, Central's swimming pool complex, football stadium, fine arts department, classrooms, special education area, baseball and softball fields, parking lots and roofs.

Out on Dickinson Field, the old grandstands have been removed and underground utilities at the site are complete. Next comes the structural slab that will hold new bleachers on both sides of the field. On the visitors' side, changes are being made to improve accessibility to guests with disabilities, Oskorep said. Press boxes and a new ticket booth also are part of the renovation.

The high school's fine arts department is being expanded to increase the size of the band room. New video and marker boards are part of the plan, along with the addition of risers in the choir room. Demolition was completed at the end of June, with completion of the project expected in mid-fall.

Oskorep said all classrooms at Hinsdale Central are being updated with new flooring, lighting, ceilings and wall color in time for the new school year.

"You'll see classrooms starting to get painted," he said. "All classrooms will be ready for the first day of school."

Walls are being installed in the special education classrooms, as well as student services and fine arts areas of the school.

District personnel began creating weekly video updates in May. Available on the District 86 website, the updates feature spokesmen from Pepper Construction as well as Oskorep. The reports rotate each week, with details on work at South, Central and the Transition Center.

Oskorep said the heavy rains of late June had little impact on the construction time line.

"The schedule has been pushed back a couple days with the weather for roofs, parking lots and the fine arts addition. Otherwise, all is still moving forward," he said.

Meanwhile, construction of the pool at Central continues after more than a year of work.

"It's a long process with building that," Oskorep said. The facility, also known as the natatorium, is on schedule to open at the beginning of August.

Work on most of the projects at Central began on May 22, the day after classes recessed for the summer. Oskorep said the pandemic actually helped to move the work at Central along. With fewer students in the school, crews had increased access and more time to get the job done. As for this summer, the only real activity other than construction is some outside sports camps, Oskorep said.

As with any major renovation, Oskorep said there will be surprises along the way. But so far, Phase 2 of the Future Ready Facilities project is right on track.

Author Bio

Sandy Illian Bosch is a contributing writer to The Hinsdalean