D-41 elementary classroom project expected to cost $15.6M

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 1:54 a.m. CDT

GLEN ELLYN – A plan to build 16 elementary school classrooms across Glen Ellyn School District 41 is expected to cost abut $15.6 million.

The plan seeks to decrease the district's reliance on portable space by building four new classrooms at each of its four elementary school buildings.

"These spaces are important now, and they're important in the long view of where we can go," Superintendent Paul Gordon said.

District 41 currently uses 32 portable classrooms, 22 of which are located at its elementary schools.

The classroom project would bring about 400 students out of portables and into the elementary school buildings, leaving four portable classrooms at Churchill Elementary School and two at Lincoln Elementary School, according to district records.

Hard costs for the project, including construction and site work, are expected to total about $13.2 million. Soft costs, such as fixtures and furnishings, will likely equal about $2.2 million.

In its budget estimate for the project, construction management company Frederick Quinn Corporation also accounted for the possibility of inflation due to the project's multi-year timeline. The escalation allowance for the hard costs is $235,502.

Designed by FGM Architects, the classrooms would be 900-square-foot flexible learning spaces, which are larger than typical classrooms and suitable for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) learning. They will look similar at all four schools, with variations made to address factors that are unique to each facility.

The classrooms would be built with sustainable materials and would have energy-saving features when possible. The project designs also include outdoor instruction areas.

The exact method of funding the project remains undecided, but D-41 is considering paying for construction and site work with reserve money or a combination of reserve funds and other financing methods, said Bob Ciserella, D-41 assistant superintendent of finance, facilities and operations. This would not require a referendum or impact property taxes.

D-41 expects to pay for soft costs with its operating budget, according to district records.

The classroom project would be phase one of a multi-phase plan to address facility issues in the district.

Plans for phase two could include building a new 550-student elementary school at the old Spalding School site to balance the populations at the other elementaries, or creating a magnet school.

The second phase could also entail adding parking at Lincoln Elementary School and building classroom space to eliminate portables at Hadley Junior High School, as well as completing renovations to address other interior issues at the school.

The Board of Education is expected to take action regarding the bid process for the classroom work that could be done this upcoming summer at its meeting Nov. 11, said Julie Worthen, director of communications and grants. Bid approval would then take place in February or March, with construction starting in June if the district accepts a bid.

Construction would begin at Franklin Elementary School because it has an underground storm water detention system that can support an addition, speeding up the application and permitting process for the site.

Depending on the storm water and permitting processes for the other locations, the project across all four schools could take two to three summers to complete.

Those associated with the project have begun meeting with Glen Ellyn planning officials. Conversations so far have been promising, said Ron Richardson, vice president with FGM Architects.

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