District 21 gives final OK to $30 million for AC, security

Updated 3/1/2019 8:30 PM

Wheeling Township Elementary District 21 board members have given final approval to more than $30 million worth of summer construction work to tighten security at school entrances and install air conditioning authorized by referendum last fall.

The board Thursday night approved a final set of bids for the building upgrades, which are expected to begin when school lets out in June. Another bid package was approved a week ago, and in December, the board purchased the 236 unit ventilators needed to provide air conditioning in classrooms.


The project includes the related update to HVAC systems districtwide, installation of secure vestibules at building entrances, adding more cameras and exterior lighting, and improving internal security systems.

The board Thursday also approved giving $303,000 more to construction manager Gilbane Building Co. due to the expanded project scope. The extra money covers an increased management fee and general liability insurance, and adding a fourth superintendent to oversee the work. Gilbane is being paid a total of $2 million.

Adding in architectural and engineering fees and contingency costs, the total cost is on track to be $38.4 million, officials said.

Voters authorized raising taxes in November as part of a $69 million borrowing plan to fund the upgrades at 14 buildings -- including better security and cooling down classrooms -- during the next four years. The owner of an average $300,000 house will pay an extra $78 in property taxes in the first year.

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