Board gives D181 summer projects green light

Community Consolidated Elementary District 181 Board members Monday approved $2.2 million in summer improvements across the nine-school district.

Facilities director Mike Duggan, in his presentation to the board recommending the work, reported that the total is lower than had been forecasted when the projects were initially brought forward in October.

“We were expecting to come in at around $2.4 million for this coming summer, but we did get some good prices,” Duggan said.

The single biggest cost of $500,000 is to replace the flooring at Monroe School. But Duggan said the price tag could have been higher.

“We got that in at what we estimated the amount to be, and the good news is we had no moisture mitigation that was required, which can be expensive,” he reported.

Playground improvements at Madison, Monroe and The Lane schools will be completed with poured-in-place surfacing. Madison and The Lane came in higher than projected at $222,824 and $141,836, respectively, while the bid for Monroe was below estimates at $76,324.

“We’ve also been working with the (Parent Teacher Organizations) on potential contributions to supplement what the district provides for the playgrounds,” Duggan said.

Earlier in the meeting, board members approved the hiring of an owner’s representative to oversee construction work starting this summer at six of the seven elementary schools to accommodate full-day kindergarten, which will launch with the 2025-26 school year.

Duggan said the confluence of the separate capital improvement programs and under-budget bids furnished an opportunity to accelerate playground work at Walker and Prospect schools.

“We shifted some of the work that would actually have fallen under the full-day kindergarten umbrella,” he said, “So we’re able to include the completion of Walker and Prospect playgrounds rather than extend those projects over a two- or three-year period, which we have done with other playgrounds.”

In addition, the renovation of the Madison MRC came in at $225,000 instead of the estimated $297,000 after they decided to handle the project in house rather than hire an architect.

“It came in under budget for that reason,” Duggan noted.

The $75,000 bid to retrofit and replace LED lighting at The Lane surpassed the projected cost by $10,000. But Duggan said the overage likely would be offset by ComEd financial incentives for LED installation.

Board member Bill Cotter suggested that the owner’s representative hired for full-day kindergarten work be kept in the loop on summer project activity to ensure crews aren’t battling for access.

“My greatest familiarity is with The Lane because that’s where my kids go to school, and there’s kind of one way to get back there to work on stuff and one way out,” Cotter said. “To avoid traffic jams and squabbling among a general contractor and the providers for these projects, that’s certainly a service the owner’s rep can provide and help with.”

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean