New Stevenson expansion plan moves forward

Plans for yet another building expansion at Lincolnshire's Stevenson High School moved forward Monday - but there's a long way to go before shovels dig into dirt.

The District 125 board agreed to direct architects with Wight & Co. to develop designs for a proposed addition to the East Building focusing on amenities for athletics and health programs. The Chicago-based firm will be paid $697,500 for this part of the job, officials said.

The design development phase follows first-stage talks between district officials and architects about the potential expansion.

Wight & Co. designed the $27 million, three-story addition to the East Building that was completed this summer. It contains classrooms, science labs and other amenities.

The new plan calls for the athletic field house connected to the East Building to be expanded for more court space. Officials also are debating renovating locker rooms, building a new dedicated classroom for physical education, creating new offices for some employees and making mechanical upgrades.

Assistant Superintendent for Business Sean Carney called it a "modernization project."

The work could cost between $45 million and $50 million, a school spokesman said.

Officials don't intend to ask voters to approve a tax-rate increase to pay for the projects. The school board likely would use savings and restructure some debt.

"We're not going to raise anyone's taxes for this project," board member David Weisberg told the Daily Herald.

Officials may decide to go ahead with all, some or none of the projects. Final approval isn't expected until February.

If any of the projects are approved, construction could begin in 2020.

Two district residents concerned about the possible costs of the projects spoke to the board at the start of the meeting and urged moderation and fiscal restraint.

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Stevenson High expansion could cost $50 million, officials say

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