New Lake Zurich student space to cost more but on track

 
 
Posted4/16/2016 7:35 AM
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  • An artist's rendering of the proposed conversion of Lake Zurich High School's small auditorium into a student collaboration area called Studio C. The Lake Zurich Unit District 95 board is expected to vote on a construction contract for Studio C later this month.

    An artist's rendering of the proposed conversion of Lake Zurich High School's small auditorium into a student collaboration area called Studio C. The Lake Zurich Unit District 95 board is expected to vote on a construction contract for Studio C later this month. Courtesy of DLA Architects Ltd.

  • An artist's rendering of the proposed conversion of Lake Zurich High School's small auditorium into a student collaboration area called Studio C. Plans call for Studio C to be substantially complete by Sept. 30.

    An artist's rendering of the proposed conversion of Lake Zurich High School's small auditorium into a student collaboration area called Studio C. Plans call for Studio C to be substantially complete by Sept. 30. Courtesy of DLA Architects Ltd.

Construction costs are now estimated beyond an original projection, but Lake Zurich Unit District 95 officials are expected to approve a plan to transform a drab high school auditorium into an inviting place for students to collaborate in the next academic year.

Vicky Cullinan, the district's assistant superintendent of business and operations, said at a meeting Thursday that Northwest Contractors of Hampshire submitted the lowest of six bids to do the Studio C work for an $873,000 base price -- above the $600,000 that had been expected. The highest bid was about $1 million.

Board President Doug Goldberg asked why the District 95 projection was so low.

Cullinan said electrical work and specialized concrete pumping to reach the middle of the school without causing floor damage are among the reasons the project would be more expensive than first believed. However, she added, the extra expense for Studio C would be affordable because high school roofing work is projected to be completed for about $420,000 under budget.

"Obviously, I'm concerned that the mark was missed," she said.

District 95 officials said Studio C -- a name selected to reflect the intended use for student collaboration on projects -- would represent a shift to a 21st-century learning model. Board members have endorsed the plan and are expected to formally vote on the construction contract Thursday, April 28.

Officials said the drab, little-used small auditorium would be converted into a lounge with an upscale coffeehouse feel. The space would have natural materials, a bar-style area with individual seating, movable couches, in-wall television screens, whiteboards and various room textures.

Unlike the high school's traditional library setting, students would be able to freely speak to each other while they work.

Goldberg said after Thursday night's meeting the community will be pleased with Studio C, which DLA Architects Ltd. of Itasca designed with student input.

"As an example of things we can do to transform our facilities for 21st century learning, Studio C, I think, will offer the community an opportunity to see for themselves what can be done by applying community resources in that direction," he said. "We're very hopeful that we'll see a great deal of usage from it from the students."

Work on Studio C would start in the summer and be substantially complete by Sept. 30, Cullinan said.

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