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District U-46 releases report of needed repairs


By Seth Hancock
  School District U-46 has nearly $34 million in repairs to be made at 13 schools based on its 10-year safety reports.
  The reports were presented to the Board of Education at its Dec. 16, 2019 meeting and a vote will be taken at the Monday, Jan. 13 meeting to allow the reports, which concern fire prevention and safety fund projects, to be submitted to the Regional Office of Education.
  Larkin High School and Abbott Middle School, both in Elgin, represented the largest costs in identified repairs.
  Larkin, which was built in 1960, has 62 items listed at a total cost of $9 million. Abbott, built in 1932, has 39 items costing $5.7 million.
  Sue Kerr, the board’s president, asked when the district starts looking at alternatives to repairing older buildings to which Jeff King, chief operations officer, said “the older they get, the more love and attention they need…. We’re stretched out over 50, 60 sites and trying to keep it running equitably across the organization, but age does have an effect on the building obviously.”
  Kerr asked “we have to follow these, right,” and King said “it depends on the rating” which determines the urgency of each repair.
  Board member Melissa Owens asked if any of the items are currently on the capital list and Sheila Downs, director of plant operations said, “some of them are low hanging fruit” and can be repaired in-house. She said staff is encouraged to cross reference with the reports when determining work to be done.
  Board member Kate Thommes asked how long it takes to complete the list of work?
  “The list won’t even be done in 10 years,” King said assessing that there is over $250 million in repairs for all U-46 buildings. He added: “I can tell you for a fact, you won’t see the full list done in 10 years. It’s very rare that we see that happen”
  King said the district is required to submit the report for each building every 10 years and Downs said U-46 works on a cycle because there are “so many locations.”
  Streamwood’s Heritage elementary (built in 1976) has 19 items totaling $3.5 million, Bartlett’s Eastview middle (1970) 35 items at $3.1 million, Hanover Park’s Parkwood elementary (1971) 40 items for $2.8 million, Elgin’s McKinley elementary (1887) 27 items for $2 million, Streamwood’s Oakhill elementary (1965) 24 items for $1.7 million, Elgin’s Ronald O’Neal elementary (1973) 12 items for $1.6 million, Wayne elementary (1912) 29 items for $1.3 million, Elgin’s Huff elementary (1954) 27 items for $1.2 million, Bartlett’s Independence Center for Early Learning (1976) 19 items for $900,834, Elgin’s Channing elementary (1968) 16 items for $681,996 and Elgin’s Coleman elementary (1954) 18 items for $296,052.

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