Palatine schools getting $14.8 million safety fixes this summer
About half the schools in Palatine Township Elementary School District 15 will shut down this summer so crews can make about $14.8 million in safety-oriented building improvements.
Some notable projects include a new roof at John Conyers Learning Academy in Rolling Meadows, costing about $2.1 million, and new exterior walls at Hunting Ridge Elementary in Palatine, costing an estimated $1.9 million.
"None of it is very exciting, glamorous stuff," Superintendent Scott Thompson said. "It's new heating systems, it's new roofs, it's new plumbing, those kinds of things. Just to bring the schools up to date."
In 2014, the state performed a life-safety study of all the district's buildings and identified deficiencies, Thompson said. The district did about half the state-mandated improvements last summer, which cost $14.1 million, and the rest will be done this summer.
Michael Adamczyk, chief school business official, said almost all of the work is being paid with using life-safety bonds. Last year the board approved issuing about $18.4 million in bonds, and last week the school board issued an additional $9.9 million.
Thompson said the district saves by issuing bonds twice, because bond issues under $10 million can go through a bank and get a better interest rate than those issued through bond agencies.
Adamczyk said the district will fund about $1.9 million of work that isn't eligible to be paid for through life-safety bonds. An example of a smaller-scale project that doesn't qualify is a $70,000 sidewalk replacement at Central Road Elementary School in Rolling Meadows.
Because about half the district's schools have to be shut down for the work, summer school activities will be held in other buildings. Adamcyzk said the work last summer was focused on buildings on the south side of the district and this year the north side buildings will be done.