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posted: 1/15/2013 4:11 PM

District 116 decides to hold off on high school expansion

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  • Nanci Radford

      Nanci Radford

 
 

Round Lake Area Unit District 116 officials won't immediately seek voter permission on whether to borrow $36 million for expansion and other improvements at the high school.

District 116 board members decided late Monday against placing a referendum question regarding Round Lake High School on the April 9 ballot. The school board had until a Jan. 22 deadline to place the measure on the ballot.

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Board President Nanci Radford was among the officials who said more time is needed to explore all of the options regarding Round Lake High.

Charli Johnsos, executive director of the Fanning Howey architecture and engineering firm, suggested it would be better if elected officials wait until 2014 to pursue a referendum if they were unsure about the best way to upgrade the high school.

Officials have said expansion is necessary at Round Lake High because the most recent enrollment figures show 1,985 students at the 1,700-capacity facility. Not all pupils are in classes at the same time because of the space shortage.

District 116 officials were considering the April referendum to seek voter approval to borrow the $36 million through a bond sale to investors. Preliminary plans called for 30 to 34 new classrooms, a new student commons, technology improvements, security upgrades and building improvements to allow better student flow.

In a recent presentation, Bill Johnston, District 116's assistant superintendent of business and operations, said the plan was to obtain the loan without raising property taxes.

Round Lake High's five-year enrollment projection is at 2,127 pupils, up from the current 1,985. Mobile classrooms have been used in an effort to reduce the building's space problems.

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