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updated: 12/8/2016 8:47 PM

West Chicago Community High School seeks input on proposed referendum

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  • West Chicago Community High School could receive a major facelift under a proposal that would require voter approval. The most-recent addition to the school is nearly 20 years old.

    West Chicago Community High School could receive a major facelift under a proposal that would require voter approval. The most-recent addition to the school is nearly 20 years old.
    Daily Herald file photo

  • West Chicago Community High School Superintendent Doug Domeracki showed off new chemistry classrooms that opened this school year.

      West Chicago Community High School Superintendent Doug Domeracki showed off new chemistry classrooms that opened this school year.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer, August 2016

 
 

The fate of a major renovation plan for West Chicago Community High School could rest this spring with voters.

The District 94 school board is considering whether to seek voter approval to borrow $28 million to $35 million in tax-backed loans to remodel outdated areas of the high school and replace aging equipment.

"There's a significant amount of infrastructure in the building that needs to be addressed," Superintendent Doug Domeracki said Thursday.

If the board decides to place a question on the April ballot, members must adopt the measure no later than Jan. 17.

The district is scheduled in November 2017 to pay off expiring bonds that funded construction of a 1998 addition.

That means -- without a referendum -- property taxes paid to the district are slated to decrease about $94 per $100,000 of a home's appraised value.

The board has not yet determined how the district would structure repayment of new bonds but is now "in a data-gathering mode," Domeracki said.

The district has hired a polling firm that is conducting a phone survey of about 400 households on the proposal. An online version will go live on the high school's website Friday and seek input on how the district should earmark the funding. The board will review the results of both surveys at its meeting Tuesday night.

Among the possible projects are:

• Building a second floor and completing roofing work on the building's 1998 addition at an estimated cost of $8.1 million. That wing was designed to accommodate a second level, Domeracki said.

• Other roofing work above the library, pool area and fieldhouse.

• Renovating the school's 1970s-era library.

• Replacing windows.

• Renovating the auditorium and installing new lighting and sound systems.

• Resurfacing a track, reconstructing a tennis court and replacing turf on an athletic field.

• Replacing wooden bleachers in some of the school's gyms.

The proposed request comes after the district completed a three-year construction plan before students returned to school in September.

During the first phase, the district spent about $1 million to replace a kitchen for food classes. Phase two added a new nurse's office, student activity center and front office near the school's entrance. The final phase renovated science and math classrooms as part of a $5 million project.

The high school serves about 2,000 students from West Chicago, Carol Stream and Winfield.

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