District 113: Master Plan approved, now defining scope
Updated: December 31, 2012 10:46AM
The District 113 Board of Education adopted a Long-Range Facility Master Plan for Deerfield and Highland Park High Schools at its Dec. 10 meeting.
Board members now report that the next step is determining which part of the plan they will seek to implement and how they will fund these projects.
The School Board and a steering committee — made up of community members with architecture and construction experience — spent a significant amount of time prioritizing projects. The committee met with architects at least 13 times during the design phase, district officials said, and Board members also have been meeting with architects individually and as a group on a regular basis.
The Board of Education will hold another special work session to prioritize projects at its Jan. 7 meeting, which starts at 5:30 p.m. and is open to the public. The Board also is scheduled to discuss funding options at that meeting, including what the district can finance out of its annual capital improvements budget and whether District 113 will seek a referendum.
“The Board is using the Master Plan as a roadmap to help determine what to do now and what can be saved for later,” District 113 Superintendent George Fornero said. “For example, if the Board of Education decides to build new multipurpose gyms for physical education at both high schools in the next five years, our architects have designed a plan so that those gyms can be turned into field houses 20 years down the road. Whatever we do now won’t go to waste in the future.”
Residents can review a summary of Deerfield and Highland Park High School’s Master Plan on the District 113 website.
The Master Plan details infrastructure upgrades needed at both schools, including mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems, as well as accessibility, instructional technology and building security. It covers everything from large projects like the reconstruction of a 100-year-old building at HPHS to smaller projects like the elimination of tiered classrooms at DHS to address accessibility issues. The Master Plan also lays out how changes made now can be expanded upon in the future.
The development of the Master Plan was a more than 18 month process. In May of 2011, District 113 called on 100-plus community members to volunteer for six different study groups to help analyze and prioritize the needs at both high schools. Those study groups eventually developed a list of recommendations that were adopted by the Board of Education and used by District 113’s architecture firm Perkins+Will during its design phase. The Steering Committee was selected to work with the architects during their development process. A construction management firm, Gilbane, also was hired to provide cost estimates on all options.
“Our main priority was to create a long-term strategy for both high schools that allows District 113 to efficiently plan for the future,” said Mark Jolicoeur, Perkins+Will architect. “Our second task was to help the District prioritize the phases and decide when to implement them.”
District 113 plans to update the community on the Board of Education’s decisions regarding what projects to implement and how they plan on funding them at two upcoming meetings: the first at 7 p.m. Jan. 23 and a second at 10 a.m. Jan. 24. Both meetings will be held in the Deerfield High School auditorium. Community members are encouraged to attend only one of the meetings as the information presented will be repeated.
More information on the Master Plan and the prioritization process can be found on District 113’s informational website.