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D-86 approves summer projects after delays

Secretary Michael Kuhn (left), Board President Claudia Manley and Vice President Ed Corcoran discuss issues during a District 86 board meeting Tuesday night. (Danny Ciamprone -
Secretary Michael Kuhn (left), Board President Claudia Manley and Vice President Ed Corcoran discuss issues during a District 86 board meeting Tuesday night. (Danny Ciamprone -

HINSDALE – Frustration and more debate ensued among residents and board members alike Tuesday as the 2013 summer bid project was once again reviewed before a formal vote was taken whether to carry out the renovations to be done at Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South high schools.

At the last meeting, board members agreed to wanting more information and cost figures that would go into the projects, which include gym entrance remodeling, renovations to the girls locker room at Hinsdale South, painting different areas at both schools and other improvements.

The projects were originally planned to be finished by the start of school, but with recent delays, construction may not be finished now until late December or early January.

Hinsdale resident Linda Burke called the summer project procedure a “debacle” and a political function of the new board. She said safety was one of her main concerns as this construction would be taking place while students and staff were in the building.

She also said the delays were against common sense, did not save significant money and was not done transparently.

“This is outrageous, it is embarrassing and it is wrong,” Burke said.

Vice President Ed Corcoran said he did not see a risk with safety for students because the projects would not affect them. Contract manager Doug Lim of Gilbane Building Co. was present at the meeting to field questions and said he had a concern about delaying the projects any further.

“My concern not acting now is with demolition,” Lim said. “We wanted to get that mostly messy demolition done before school started.”

Lim said the construction company would not put anybody in jeopardy as far as safety was concerned as this was not the company's first project.

“Summer is the preference (for construction), but they have safety regulations in place,” Lim said.

Under the previous board, bid for the total construction project was $1,697,739. The new bid approved by the board Tuesday came in at $1,221,666, a savings of $476,073 from the original bids.

Secretary Michael Kuhn asked whether the summer projects would interfere with activities such as basketball taking place in November with renovations being done to the ticket booth and concession stand.

“Let's stop with the scare tactics,” Corcoran said in response.

Lim said the projects would take place during some activities, but would have a minimal effect.

As far as cost compares from the original bids to the new bids, Kim said it was like comparing apples to apples because the difference is minimal. It prompted Jennifer Planson to ask, “Why did we rebid?” if there was such a little difference."

Corcoran said several improvements have been made, including to design.

“A lot has changed,” Corcoran said. “There's been a huge number of man hours by volunteers looking at this and trying to improve design and at the same time maintain the cost. And the original contracts that were entertained by the previous board was about $1.7 million, we're at $1.2 million now. To characterize this as the same is not really true, there's been a lot of changes.”

The board voted in favor of approving the summer project bid, 4-3.

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