• Megann Horstead

Officials announce District 122 construction projects for this summer


New Lenox School District 122 officials are anticipated to spend $3.9 million on building improvements this summer, including an HVAC replacement.

Other scheduled projects include the painting of several schools, some parking lot asphalt and concrete repairs at Liberty Junior High School, data cabling for identified rooms at Haines Elementary School and a mechanical system replacement at Haines Elementary School. All projects are part of the District’s 10-year Capital Projects plan.

The Board of Education approved contracts for 2018 summer construction projects at its Feb. 20 regular meeting.

Summer months are traditionally a time of year set aside for building improvements. Last year, District 122 spent $3 million on upgrades.

Discussions of 2018 construction projects date back to May 2017. Previously, the District anticipated $5 million in upgrades.

The bid results were reviewed at a Feb. 7 strategic planning session and show the improvements amounting to $2.9 million, with District 122 cushioning the variance between that figure and the projected $3.9 million for project contingency, fees, insurance and general conditions.

“The [HVAC replacement] project will save future maintenance and repair costs at Haines,” Business Manager Robert Groos said. “The project will also save energy costs as well.”

In a related development, a motion was passed by the Board of Education approving an approximate $20,000, one-month payment to Precision Controls for services performed at several buildings. Of that amount, $352 is to pay for one HVAC-related repair at Haines School. Precision Controls is the contractor that holds the bid contract to maintain and repair the HVAC systems at the District’s 14 facilities.

“Whenever we have a significant HVAC issue, we call Precision Controls to assess and resolve the situation,” Groos said.

Board Member Phil Adair questioned the District’s spending efforts and said we go through almost $10,000 a month.

“This $20,000 was higher than usual due to a few significant boiler repairs we had to make,” Groos said.

Superintendent Peggy Manville tried to lessen the concern Adair raised and said the size and age of the District’s buildings must be kept in mind with respect to the HVAC system and related repairs.

In another related development, the Board of Education decided to award a one-year HVAC contract extension to Precision Controls.

Adair wants better surveillance over what they’re spending and getting in return.

The Board of Education last month extended a multi-year contract through 2019 to Jason Sterritt, the District’s new director of organizational planning and facilities. At the time, Adair turned to Sterritt’s technical experience as reason to cast a dissenting vote.

“It has been one of the high-budget items that we experience every month,” Adair said.

In a 6-0 vote, the Board of Education decided to accept the base bid and first three alternates and went on to reject the fourth alternate. Board Secretary Nicole Swallow was absent.

The latter alternate was rejected because the HVAC equipment already comes with a 10-year parts warranty.

Cash flow report reviewed

Also at the meeting, the Board of Education was briefed on the District’s annual budget and the State of the State.

“Everything is trending very well in terms of revenue,” Groos said. “Our revenue has come in as planned in terms of state revenues. Our general state aid, which is about $4.6 million [in] total revenue, [is] coming in on time.”

The District’s total salaries are trending 2.5 percent lower than budget, to date. That means a savings of $984,000 could be in the works by the year’s end.

Groos said the state, however, is behind in issuing payment for transportation services.

The District is anticipating that it will receive the first of its quarterly payments in the coming days.

“That’s good news, and that we did plan to receive that first quarter payment in our budget,” Groos said.

Round it up

A brief recap of action and discussion Feb. 20 at a regular meeting of the New Lenox School District 122 Board of Education:

  • The District is seeking volunteers to help run its iCan Bike Summer Program. Anyone interested should be available June 11-15 and is encouraged to get in contact with the superintendent.

  • The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers testing is slated to begin March 5 at the District’s schools.

  • A motion was passed to advance the recommendation of the District’s English language arts committee to adopt Pearson ReadyGen for grades kindergarten through five and myPerspectives for grades six through eight for the 2018-2019 academic year. Existing programs were not aligned to the new Common Core state standards initiative.

  • A motion was passed to approve the District’s participation in the Erate program, enabling bids for technology services and equipment to be reimbursed up to 40 percent by a grant made possible through the Federal Communications Commission. This year, District 122 has four different projects it intends to address, including internet connection service, managed or private Wide Area Network Services, 41 wireless access points and 41 cabling drops.

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