Arlington Heights school addition costs jump $4 million
Work will start this month to build additions at two schools in Arlington Heights Elementary District 25, but the project will cost more than district officials originally estimated.
The District 25 school board on Thursday approved construction bids totaling $16,239,556 for work to be done at Ivy Hill and Olive-Mary Stitt elementary schools, up from early estimates of $10 million to $12 million.
Superintendent Lori Bein said the construction costs have increased since the discussion began in February. More square footage and water detention areas have been added at both sites, too.
"We are disappointed that the bids are higher than we anticipated," Bein said. "That's part of doing construction. You never know the actual cost until you open the bid."
After a lengthy discussion, the school board unanimously approved all the bids submitted from the lowest responsive and responsible bidders.
The addition at Ivy Hill will include 10 new classrooms, while Olive-Mary Stitt will receive five. Both schools will get larger, air-conditioned gymnasiums and larger common areas.
The projects will be paid for through $18 million in bonds the school board approved selling in April.
The bids approved on Thursday also include $2.6 million worth of regular capital projects for the two schools -- roofing, boiler and HVAC maintenance -- that had been scheduled to take place over the next five years. Those projects will be done at the same time as the construction and paid for out of the district's capital projects budget, Bein said.
"We started this conversation with community members coming to us in August 2014 concerned about the enrollment increase at their schools, and here we are -- 14 months later -- excited that we're actually going to start seeing construction trucks on property in the next week or so," Bein said.
Groundbreaking ceremonies are planned for Oct. 13: 1:15 p.m. at Olive School and 2:30 p.m. at Ivy Hill.
Since 2008, District 25's enrollment has grown by more than 38 students each year, said Jake Chung, assistant superintendent of personnel and planning.
According to projections, the district could get another 200 students by the start of the 2019-20 school year.
"It's a joy to see families continually moving into the Arlington Heights area," Bein said.
"With the excitement of a growing student body comes the need for expansion. We aim to provide our students with the best learning environment available."
Next, the district will study possible expansions at Westgate and Windsor elementary schools, though Bein said those projects would likely be smaller, with no more than four additional classrooms at each.
She said District 25 has not decided how to pay for that project, whether by taking out another loan or using money from its regular budget.
Both Ivy Hill and Windsor have installed mobile classrooms to alleviate overcrowding until construction is done.
Bein said the school board will likely make a final decision on the next phase of expansions by February 2016.