The new Education and Work Center in Hanover Park suffered damage when heavy rains poured through a leaky roof just hours after a ribbon-cutting that drew educators and politicians.
"We had a grand opening, and it rained like the devil that night," Mayor Rodney Craig said.
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Officials found the roof "needed to be replaced as soon as possible" during a renovation of the 10,900-square-foot space in an aging strip mall, according to village documents. The discovery came as crews finished work on heating and air conditioning systems.
Now, replacing the roof is an "emergency" project expected to cost the village up to $361,900, Craig said.
Heavy rains the night of Aug. 21 came through the roof, damaging ceiling tiles and flooding the rear of the center in the Hanover Square mall along Barrington Road.
The long-awaited center, jointly managed by Harper and Elgin community colleges, will begin holding night courses for adult students next week as planned, Craig said. Engineers have deemed the center structurally safe, he added.
Crews will work during the day to avoid disrupting classes. The project also will encompass the roofing over several neighboring businesses.
"They're going to be very sensitive to where the classes are going to be going on," Craig said.
The village is scrambling to finish the project by Oct. 22, before students will start taking daytime classes.
"It's going to be close," Craig said.
Public works staff members reached out to five contractors previously hired by the village for quotes. Of the three who responded, Waukegan Roofing offered the best price and will likely secure a village contract.
"We think we did the best we could without going out for our normal bidding process," Craig said.
The village already has contributed more than $700,000 to renovate the space into classrooms and offices.
ECC and Harper will each contribute $750,000 to operate the center for three years as a pilot program.
Both will run free, adult general education classes, while the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership will provide job training.