The Unit 9 School Board met in person with social distancing guidelines Tuesday evening.
The board heard from consultant Robert Zummallen about soliciting non-binding proposals and qualifications for construction management firms for the proposed new building, renovations and demolition of Glenn Raymond School.
The district has placed a referendum question on the April ballot and has worked to get two grants from FEMA. If those are approved, and they have already passed at least one phase of the approval system, the grants will fund 75 percent of the proposed $67 million project.
The proposed project recommendation is to create a K-12 campus school, which would heavily renovate the existing high school building and build a new, connected building to the east of the high school gym. Glenn Raymond School would be decommissioned and razed. Wanda Kendall School would be lightly renovated and would house the district office. The district office building would be no longer used other than the bus barn area. Nettie Davis School will not be used after this school year and will be razed also.
The approximate $67 million proposed project will be funded 75 percent by grants and 25 percent by the community if the referendum passes and grants are approved. The district has passed one level of grant approval for each grant, which are now both being reviewed at FEMA.
Board members have said in past meetings that the proposed project will update the buildings to 21st Century learning spaces and also get buildings out of the 100-year and 500-year flood plains. Nettie Davis, for example, has flooded three times in the past few years.
Information from the Unity for Our Community referendum committee indicates that if the referendum passes, a homeowner with a $50,000 home would pay approximately $39 per year in additional tax. A$100,000 home would see an increase of $99 per year in additional tax.
Board members have also said that if the grants are not approved and the referendum does not pass, the district will still have about $17 million in health, life, safety work that needs to be done in the next 10 to 15 years. That work would not address all the flood plain issues.
Zummallen told the board Tuesday night that three firms in the Chicago area to present the proposals and entertain others. He said there are not many firms who have the expertise to do the large scope of work that would be needed.
Zummallen said,” I know I eliminated one yesterday because they wanted to change the provisions in the contract to be a construction manager not at risk but just as an agent and that’s something the school district doesn’t want. We want at risk because it holds them liable to keep the costs at what it is on bid day, and number two they hold all the contracts and the district won’t have to hold the contracts and they act as a general contractor construction management firm. Those are the things the attorney wants and the school district wants that, too. It protects the district.”
The board also approved Owner’s Representative to engage in discussion with the legal firm of Robbins and Swartz of Chicago for architectural and construction management contract services in the amount of $250 per hour. That vote was 7-0.
During the meeting Superintendent David Andriano commended bus driver Linda Smith for her “exemplary conduct” during a recent accident.
“As you know we had a bus on Route 1 moving south that was rear-ended,” he said. “The car behind it was completely totaled. Through that whole thing she did everything perfectly as far as what to do with kids, what to do with the report, how to handle the ambulance with one kid off the bus at a time to be looked at. Through the whole thing she kept the kids calm and safe. To have everything go off without a hitch like that is a tribute to what she had done that day.”