The Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 board on Monday delayed hiring a company to demolish the Brainerd Building and Jackson Gym -- but it's hardly a stay of execution for the historic buildings.
A Michigan firm was the lowest bidder for the job, but questions about federal safety violations and other issues formally raised by a Chicago-area labor group prompted the board to delay voting on a contract for at least a few weeks.
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Dore and Associates Contracting offered to do the job for $484,800, and board members were expected to vote on a contract Monday. But Scott McFedries, a representative of the Chicago Laborers District Council, formally protested the bid in a letter to the district and in person at Monday's meeting at Vernon Hills High School.
After a lengthy discussion, board members opted to delay the vote and spend a few weeks investigating the allegations, which included 39 Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations, business consultant Jess Porres confirmed.
Rejecting Dore and Associates' bid before such an investigation could set up the district for a lawsuit, officials said.
Officials want to demolish the two buildings in October.
The Brainerd Building opened as Libertyville Township High School in 1917. The Jackson Gym followed in 1929.
After the present Libertyville High School opened in 1954, the Brainerd Building was turned into a freshmen-only facility.
All classroom education there ceased in 1999 when Vernon Hills High School opened.
A community group had wanted to turn the Brainerd Building into a civic center, and the village leased the buildings from the school district while the volunteers tried to get the project off the ground. They were unsuccessful, however.
District 128 officials want to use the land for athletic fields and parking.
The demolition project likely will be partially funded by Libertyville because of its involvement with the community-center plan. The village board could vote Tuesday to contribute $184,800 to the demolition, rather than paying $404,166 in rent.
• Daily Herald staff writer Mick Zawislak contributed to this report.