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Comparing District 113's Plans with Education First's

A reader who attended Tuesday's presentation of Highland Park and Deerfield High Schools' master plan reacts to what he learned and encourages the school board to work closely with the community.

I had the pleasure of attending the presentation by the architects and construction management company of the options for the D113 master Plan.

The group took us through three main scenarios which they said are not set in stone yet and that they could mix and match between the scenarios. A decision has not yet been reached by the board regarding the final plan.

District 113 showed us the numbers for each expenditure category but was unwilling to provide us with totals since the plans are still in their formative stages. It did seem like most of the audience wanted to know the totals for Options A, B and C so I have included them below from my notes. Please let me know if I mischaracterized anything. It appears that Option A is $92.9M  Option B is $123.4M and Option C is $171.9M

For comparison purposes, I also pulled the numbers from the Education First plan which came in at $61.8M before reserves. It is interesting to note that the main difference between the Education First plan and District 113’s Option A is in the area of HVAC, wiring and infrastructure and a bit in the estimated cost of the B and C Buildings. Because of that, it is important that we look especially closely at the infrastructure area to see the differences. Other than that, the Education First plan was very similar in cost to Option A.

District 113’s Options B and C start to really expand primarily in PE/athletic facilities and also to a lesser extent in the treatment of the B Building at HPHS.

It is good to see that there are finally numbers to work with. Now, it is important for District 113 to work closely with the community to weigh the pros and cons of the options and put the pieces together in the most intelligent way possible.

Sam Shapiro

Tony Horwitz November 29, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Yes, Sam you have mischaracterized the whole thing. It's not either column A, B, or C. C represents a much bigger bite of the enchilada, but is just further on a continuum to fulfilling the entire long range plan. These are not options to be chosen one from another, but options of how far to go in any first and then subsequent steps towards completing these long range goals over the next 20 to 40 years. These plans were based on the NEEDS identified by a large group consensus (not unanimity) but the Ed 1st plan shorts the needs of the district, by making assummptions which were negated by the study groups. Without going into detail, the study groups were composed of over a hundred committed individuals. Ed 1st is composed of less than a dozen folks who only represent one end of the spectrum. Ed 1st doesn't represent the community, only one narrow view that was soundly outvoted at each juncture when a good representation of the community was present.
Tony Horwitz November 29, 2012 at 12:55 PM
As well, if you want to compare the Ed 1st plan as previously published with the current iteration (not final) long range plan presented by the district, the Ed 1st plan falls fall short on details. Many assumptions were made and not substantiated, nor correlated with the needs that have been identified. Furthermore, I trust the estimates of actual costs from professionals practicing in the industry more than I do some random folks who may have credentials, but no experience in this particular area. Note that the esitimates provided in the district's long range plan presentation included substantial room for contingencies, and so may represent a larger number than the actual cost at completion.
Walter White November 29, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Can't really make a decision on this until we know what the Board will be asking from the taxpayers in terms of referendum. We obviously want to do everything but we have to balance that with cost.
Bringin' Down Briarwood November 29, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Sam, when can we expect E1st to answer questions from the general public about their plan?
Bringin' Down Briarwood November 30, 2012 at 05:23 AM
Yea, that's what I thought.
Carl Lambrecht November 30, 2012 at 09:53 AM
When my children went to District 113 schools. District 113 had a population of 5,000. Now it is less than 4,000.
Walter (Tripp) Hainsfurther November 30, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Sam: For some reason I posted something that either didn't work or was removed. I thank you for summarizing costs. I believe that it is safe to say this is one range in which specific projects will be developed. I know that the Steering Committee and the Board are aware of the community's concerns on both the cost and wanting to provide our students with a good learning environment and would urge you and others to attend their meetings as they formulate a specific strategy. To compare it to the Ed First "plan" is a but misleading. Perhaps all the more so since my understanding is that the 50M came from WIght and Co. numbers. Edf Forst spent many months discrediting those numbers, yet now they want to hold them up as a standard. In addition, it is now two years later and (surpirse) costs have gone up. Gilbane's numbers include a number of things that I believe Wight's do not such as cost escalation between project inception and bidding, design contingiencies to account for unknown conditions, professional fees, and furnishing and equipment. So, you are not in an "apples to apples" comparison.
Walter (Tripp) Hainsfurther November 30, 2012 at 02:43 PM
As far as PE facilities, I can assure you that every recommendation will be looked at through the lens of supporting the EDUCATIONAL mission of the schools. In the case of HPHS, the decision on whether to rehabilitate, repurpose or rebuild C Building drives the need for PE facilities. If, as BTC says, it does not make economic sense to rehabilitate or repurpose C, then those facilities must be replaced. One P+W option is to use that space for classrooms and a new gym near the other PE facilities. As far as DHS, there was an identified need for additional teaching stations. In addition, the pool and exhibition gym were not accessible to all students, something that the study groups saw as a high priority. Finally, I believe that it was practically unanimous that the pools in both schools be rebuilt. The debate should be about how that is accomplished (in terms of size and location.)
Steven N November 30, 2012 at 03:29 PM
As one who first asked for the totals and has done them himself I find them to be significantly less than those put forth but Sam. That said one key consideration when either the Board or citizenery looks at options must be kept in mind. The experts retained by the district have made some specific recommendations as to how best to attack a particular need of the district. As an example they recommend that 100% of the poor windows should be replaced versus 50% of the poor windows. I believe we all should heed those recommendations as to how to fix the problem. The we can discuss when and if it should be done and how to pay for it. Rough calculations would indicate all recommended infrastructure and the pools could be done for approximately 92 million depending on what concommitant requirements exist.
Bringin' Down Briarwood November 30, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Please excuse this message, Tripp, because you conduct yourself with much more class and the following really shouldn't be associated with your message. However, I'd like to highlight one of your phrases - " ... the 50M came from WIght and Co. numbers. Edf Forst spent many months discrediting those numbers, yet now they want to hold them up as a standard." That is one of many things I find ABSOLUTELY APPALLING about the way E1st tries to achieve ITS (not the community's) goals. The ENTIRE Education 1st campaign revolved around working with the district and the community. But within weeks there were very public attempts to discredit the open process. And of course, that continues. Then, when the district begins to present A PORTION of its plan (and not even the entire plan), you continue to promote an alternative plan that piggybacks the work of the district and community. You couldn't complete the entire committee process, but your information is being held up by the work that you try to discredit. There's been absolutely nothing about the way this group conducts business that makes me think they can be trusted or considered a thought leader. You want to be judged on a level field, but you've answered ZERO questions about your plan. You guys are just scummy and dishonest to the core with only your own tax bills in mind.

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