Early Elmhurst school project cost estimates: Up to $151 million

Up to $151 million, early estimates say. So does that mean a referendum?

  • A major renovation of Field Elementary School in Elmhurst is estimated to cost between $14 million and $18 million.

    A major renovation of Field Elementary School in Elmhurst is estimated to cost between $14 million and $18 million. Courtesy of Elmhurst Unit School District 205

  • Constructing a building to replace the 100-year-old Lincoln Elementary School in Elmhurst, shown here from the Daily Herald drone, would cost at least $21 million, early estimates say.

      Constructing a building to replace the 100-year-old Lincoln Elementary School in Elmhurst, shown here from the Daily Herald drone, would cost at least $21 million, early estimates say. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/9/2017 8:30 AM

Replacing Lincoln Elementary School, renovating Field Elementary School and pursuing a list of other building projects could cost Elmhurst Unit District 205 up to $151 million, according to "very preliminary" cost estimates.

In response to community feedback, district officials in coming months will develop a plan to increase science, technology, engineering and math programming, implement all-day kindergarten and address issues with some buildings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The plan may include asking voters for a property tax increase, so school board members requested preliminary cost estimates for potential projects that could be included in a referendum question.

Administrators provided "extremely rough" estimates in a memo highlighting three possible scenarios for board to review on Tuesday night.

On Monday, Superintendent David Moyer stressed the district needs to obtain schematic designs to develop more precise cost estimates for buildings.

"We intend to bring things to the public with more precision in the fall," Moyer said.

In the meantime, he said, the numbers released this week are intended "to start the conversation" and give residents an idea of what might be possible.

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According to the preliminary estimates, the first scenario would cost $66 million to $101 million. It includes:

• Replacing Lincoln with a building that would be either 56,000 square feet or 70,000 square feet. The smaller design would cost $21 million to $24 million; the larger one would cost $27 million to $31 million.

• Doing a major renovation of Field that would cost $14 million to $18 million.

• Constructing an addition to Edison Elementary School that would cost $7 million to $10 million. The building at 246 South Fair Ave. also would be renovated for $4 million to $7 million.

• Upgrading the auditorium at York High School for $4 million to $8 million.

• Upgrading technology infrastructure at the three middle schools and four of the elementary schools for $5 million to $7 million.

• Creating "future ready learning spaces" at five elementary schools for $5 million to $10 million.

• Creating secure entrances at Bryan and Sandburg middle schools for $1.5 million to $2.5 million.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• Creating secure entrances at Jackson and Jefferson elementary schools for $500,000 to $1.5 million.

• Adding air conditioning to Jackson and Jefferson elementary schools for $4 million to $6 million.

If the district pursues more projects, the second scenario would add $28 million to $33 million. It would provide:

• $23 million for 10-year building maintenance.

• $5 million to $10 million for major renovations to the Madison Early Childhood Education Center at 130 W. Madison St.

Doing all the work in the first and second scenarios would cost between $94 million and $134 million. Adding the third scenario would cost more.

Projects outlined in the third scenario are:

• Additional middle school STEM spaces and upgrades for $3 million to $5 million.

• STEM improvements at York for $1 million to $3 million.

• Athletic field upgrades at York for $5.2 million.

• New auditorium and library renovations at Churchville Middle School for $3 million to $4 million.

District 205 officials say they plan to seek "extensive community input" in the fall to determine what, if anything, the community is willing to support.

Feedback will help the school board decide if it should pursue a referendum question.

"The fall will decide what the public is willing to support and how much they're willing to support," Moyer said. "All those things will be part of a formal process in the fall. At that time, we'll have much more specific information."

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