DANVILLE — Some students in Danville School District 118 and Danville Area Community College should expect to see their learning environments improve in the next year.
Also, District 118 officials hope progress can be made on contract negotiations for teachers, teaching assistants, secretaries and learning resource clerks now that a federal mediator is expected to meet with the district and Danville Education Association between Jan. 22-24.
“I always try to be optimistic,” said DEA president Robin Twidwell. “I’m hoping the mediator can help us find a resolution.”
Superintendent Mark Denman agreed. “Hopefully the mediator can help us. Disagreement over the merger (whether to negotiate the district’s two contracts concurrently or individually) has caused a delay, but hopefully that will be resolved in the future.”
In mid-December, the District 118 school board moved forward with plans to renovate East Park Elementary School, the third and final school to be improved in the district’s three-year renovation project.
“The three schools were in need of renovation,” Denman said, referring to South View and North Ridge middle schools as well as East Park.
“We looked at renovating or replacing the buildings, but we couldn’t have afforded to build three new large schools,” he said.
With bids for the base project and alternate work coming in substantially less than architects’ estimates and a bond sale netting the district $8.2 million plus another $4.3 million the district already had set aside, the board approved the base project plus Option 2 of the alternate work for a total cost of $12.5 million.
“I’m elated with the bids coming in the way that they did,” said Building and Grounds Director Ron Henton. “It was meant to be.”
Option 2 entails the construction of a new cafeteria with a seating capacity of 448 and a new kitchen built in the large grassy area to the south of the main entrance of school.