District 220 studying lots of building options, possible expenses
Tentative costs associated with a variety of proposed building upgrades at Barrington Area Unit District 220 were unveiled at a special school board meeting Monday night.
Board members addressed Blueprint 220, the district's long-term strategy on school renovations designed to meet future education needs, in part through flexible spaces and better technology. Officials will need to sift through the numerous construction proposals and expenses before any formal decisions are made on what to pursue and how to pay for it.
"I don't want anybody to think that the numbers we're talking about are going to represent a referendum or even a plan," District 220 board President Brian Battle said at Monday's session at Barrington Middle School-Station Campus. "We're not at that point yet."
Jason Lembke of Chicago-based DLR Group, an architecture consultant on the Blueprint 220 planning team, presented the proposals and associated tentative costs for 13 schools and the administration office. Each school has more than one construction option and possible price tags.
For example, the least expensive of five proposed choices at Barrington High School could cost $20.1 million to $22.2 million. That work would include sustainability improvements, better energy efficiency, bathroom repairs and an upgraded heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
Lembke said a revised estimate shows a high school renovation that would include all basic work plus an 800-seat fine-arts center, a physical education-wellness addition and new front entry with atrium could cost $114.7 million to $126 million.
On the high end, a demolition of the existing high school and construction of a replacement on the same site is projected at $245.4 million to $272.6 million.
District 220 officials gathered community feedback for Blueprint 220. At a Barrington High School gathering in October, visitors heard presentations on potential building needs for future-ready learning, physical activity and wellness, visual and performing arts, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics career pathways.
Although the district typically sets aside about $2.5 million annually each summer for construction projects, officials say it won't be enough to pay for significant building improvements.
Barrington High School Principal Stephen McWilliams said facilities are an important part of education.
"I'm finding more and more that as we try to advance instruction," McWilliams said, "we're trying to take rooms that were designed for seats in a row, teacher in the front, chalkboard and dust, and creating an environment that fits the next generation of instruction."
School board members are expected to continue discussion on the Blueprint 220 proposals and potential expenses at a meeting Feb. 6.