Life-safety work pegged at $7.2 million in Mundelein District 75

 
 
Updated 1/24/2017 1:12 PM
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  • Mundelein Elementary District 75 has a list life-safety work to be done at its schools.

      Mundelein Elementary District 75 has a list life-safety work to be done at its schools. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Mundelein Elementary District 75 has a list life-safety work to be done at its schools, including Carl Sandburg Middle School.

      Mundelein Elementary District 75 has a list life-safety work to be done at its schools, including Carl Sandburg Middle School. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

Mundelein Elementary District 75 faces extensive building improvements, but it's too soon to tell whether or when taxpayers may be asked to help with an estimated $7.2 million tab.

While officials are confident the cost of required life-safety projects at four buildings can be lowered substantially by managing the projects and doing the work in house and foregoing fees, it will be a few months before the fine-tuning starts and decisions are made on how to pay for them.

"It all depends what we get this down to," Superintendent Andy Henrikson. "We don't have a lot of debt right now. We'd have to discuss that with the financial advisers."

Two neighboring school districts, Hawthorn Elementary District 73 and Diamond Lake Elementary District 76, will seek taxpayer approval April 4 to borrow $42 million and $11.4 million respectively for building projects. Hawthorn's is much broader in scope and includes land acquisition, additions and other renovations, while the Diamond Lake request is more for basic upgrades.

The District 75 work is part of a required report school districts have to file with the state every 10 years. An architect must inspect and review each building to identify areas of required or recommended improvement for the safety of staff and students.

These include dozens of projects with varying degrees of cost ranked by priority and submitted to the Illinois State Board of Education to determine which projects will be required and which qualify for life-safety bonds, a form of borrowing. No areas of immediate concern were found, according to Henrikson.

At $2.8 million, Sandburg Middle School has the largest estimated cost for the four buildings. Among the highest priority items are $34,000 for anti-scalding devices in public bathrooms and sinks, and $12,800 for carbon monoxide detectors to be hard-wired into the existing alarm system. Middle priority items include $500,000 to replace galvanized with copper piping to include new valves in the building and $55,000 for larger kitchen exhaust hoods, duct work and a fan. The lowest priority items include $240,500 for new water conservation fixtures and $113,500 to replace wired glazing with tempered safety glass.

The process of state review and approval will take a few months.

In December, the District 75 board was presented with an overall cost of $5.9 million for four buildings. But it was determined the estimate for many projects covered work to correct a code violation but often not money to repair or remodel the area, Henrikson said.

For example, the cost of replacing water pipes in the ceilings did not include funds to replace the ceiling with new energy efficient lighting. Those and other changes added $1.3 million to the original total, Henrikson said.

As submitted, the most urgent projects that have to be done within a year, would cost the district $322,290. Those required within three years amount to $2.3 million and the rest, such as backup generators, would be done as resources are available.

@dhmickzawislak

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