The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

October 7, 2012

East Park next on renovation list

BY CAROL ROEHM
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — Plans for renovation work at East Park Elementary School will be unveiled Wednesday night at the Danville School District 118 meeting.

Superintendent Mark Denman said he and other staff spent Tuesday at Schmidt Associates in Indianapolis — the architects hired for the renovation project — reviewing the plans and various options.

East Park, which formerly was a junior high school until the 1980s, is the third and final school slated to be improved in the district’s three-year renovation project. South View Middle School was renovated in 2010-2011, and work at North Ridge Middle School is on schedule with completion scheduled in mid-December.

All three facilities originally were constructed as junior high schools in 1961.

Denman said the East Park project will be put out to bid in four packages: general contractor, electrical, plumbing and mechanical.

Unlike South View and North Ridge, the lockers — which are a leftover from its junior high days — won’t be replaced at East Park.

“The children at East Park don’t use lockers, so we won’t be looking to replace the lockers, we’ll be removing them,” he said.

Because the renovation projects were budgeted in such a way as to not affect the local school tax rate, and East Park is the last of the three schools to be improved, Denman said “money will dictate how much we can do.”

District 118 Business Director Heather McKiernan said bond advisers will be present at the Oct. 24 school board meeting, with bonds possibly being issued at the November school board meeting.

“We’re going to look at the money we’ve put aside and how we’re going to fund it,” she said of the project.

McKiernan said she had hoped there would be $8 million left for the East Park project, but since the equalized assessed valuation of the area has declined, the district has received less in its property tax levy in recent years.

McKiernan said she will recommend the district issue $6.5 million in bonds, while still trying to maintain the current tax rate. Any additional money needed for the project would come from the district’s operational fund, she said.

“We’ve intentionally put money aside,” Denman said. “And we’re hoping to get good bids.”

He said Buildings and Grounds Director Ron Henton plans to conduct site tours at East Park with potential contractors in hopes of getting the best bids possible on the project.

“We only have a certain amount of money to spend,” Denman said. “The plumbing is in decent shape and we’ll replace fixtures, but it will not nearly be the renovations of North Ridge.”

The work also would include paving the school’s parking lot as well as the road around the school that connects to Colfax Street.

Denman ruled out the possibility of building a cafetorium like at South View and North Ridge, but instead said the architects’ plans outline two options for a cafeteria or separate eating area without a stage.

The architects will present to the school board Wednesday the estimated base cost of the project, which would exclude a cafeteria; however, board members will be able to consider the addition of one of two options.

Option 1 would entail constructing an addition to the east side of the gymnasium for a cafeteria that would adjoin the existing kitchen.

Option 2 would entail the construction of a new cafeteria and a new kitchen built in the large grassy area to the south of the main entrance of the school.

Denman said creating a cafeteria or separate eating area at East Park would provide “additional space for meetings and remove students from the school area where classes are going on.

“East Park has the largest and one of the most functional kitchens in the district,” he said. “It was meant to be the kitchen for all three junior highs.”

Denman said the project would go out to bid the first week of November, with bids being presented to the school board at its Dec. 12 meeting and contracts hopefully being awarded Dec. 13.

“Ideally, work would start over Christmas break,” Denman said.

Also on Wednesday, the school board will:

--Review the first reading of a job description for supervisor of nurses.

Denman said the supervisor of nurses always has been “an extracurricular responsibility” of one of the school nurses.

“Some people refer to it as head nurse,” he said.

According to Denman, the supervisor of nurses also “works in tandem with the director of special education on health issues.”

--Consider approving a revised job description for principal.

--Consider the suspension of a non-certified employee. Denman said the recommended suspension was “performance related.”

--Consider approving Safety National as the workers’ compensation excess coverage carrier for district employees that would cover catastrophic claims for two years.

Coming Up

The District 118 School Board will hold its next regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St.