District 220 approves renovations for building to become new headquarters in Barrington
Barrington Area Unit District 220 board members have agreed to pay up to $1.7 million to renovate an office building for a new administration headquarters.
District 220 plans to move into a 20,000-square-foot building at 515 W. Main St., across the street from Barrington High School. The district this summer spent about $1.1 million to buy PepsiCo Inc.'s former office that was most recently used for its Gatorade division.
At a meeting Tuesday night, the school board approved construction bids expected to be about $1.7 million for the interior renovation work that officials say is needed to make the PepsiCo structure suitable for district operations. District 220 board President Brian Battle said $1.5 million originally was budgeted for the renovation.
Lombard-based architect Gregory Stahler said it would not pay off in the long run if certain upgrades, such as bathrooms, are delayed and become necessary after the employees move in. The relocation from the James Street headquarters should occur before the school year ends.
"You really do it now or down the road it's really difficult to do," Stahler said.
District 220's James Street central office -- tucked in an area with a mix of houses and industrial buildings in Barrington -- lacks parking and work space, officials said. The building has been an issue, with officials discussing a sale or moving elsewhere as far back as 2001.
About 50 employees work in the current headquarters building at 310 James St., officials said. It is not yet known what will be done with that facility.
Vacant for a few years, PepsiCo's former Gatorade offices are expected to provide more space for administration employees and will offer room for large gatherings of educators for professional development, as well as more parking, district officials said.
Construction of a secure entrance, new carpeting, the building of false walls in open areas, board room mechanical upgrades, fresh paint and the creation of a public restroom area near the front are some of what's expected for the renovation.
Battle complimented his colleagues, Penny Kazmier and Joseph Ruffolo, for refining the project as members of the advisory facilities committee.
"It's more than we originally had estimated," Battle said of the potential $1.7 million expense, "but I think the logic you guys used to try to make sure that we just be cost-effective putting in stuff we need now, to make it a long-term building and habitable, makes sense to me."
Superintendent Brian Harris said the district is going through the village to secure building permits for the work.