Removing mobile classrooms top priority as Dist. 220 launches multiyear project
A multiyear upgrade of 12 Barrington Area Unit District 220 buildings is expected to start this summer with construction that will allow three schools to stop using mobile classrooms.
Grove Avenue Elementary School, Barrington Middle School's Prairie Campus and Barrington Middle School's Station Campus, all in Barrington, will get additions and various upgrades.
"To get rid of those mobile classrooms at those three buildings was a high safety and security priority," Superintendent Brian Harris said.
School board President Penny Kazmier agreed. "That was a high priority for us to make sure that we were able to stop using those mobile classrooms as soon as possible. That's why those three buildings were targeted first," she said.
The district hired the architecture firm DLR Group and the construction company Pepper Construction for the multiyear project.
According to preliminary estimates, construction costs would be $17.7 million at the middle school's Station Campus, which was built in 1966; $13.2 million at Prairie Campus, built in 1992; and $8.6 million at Grove Elementary, built in 1953.
Construction bids for the two middle schools will be presented for approval to the school board Tuesday.
The district will solicit bids soon for the elementary school and expects to present them to the school board in early March, Harris said.
The work at the three schools is expected to start this summer and be done by November. The other nine schools will follow over time, with Barrington High School rounding out the list for completion by February 2025, according to a tentative timeline.
"Taking our time and chipping away at it as opposed to having too many projects going on at the same time, I think it's a better approach," Kazmier said.
The work is being funded by $147 million in borrowing approved by voters in March 2020. The first $43.5 million bond issue was approved by the school board last year; that's the first of three batches of bonds planned, Harris said.
The work throughout the 12 school buildings includes additions; upgrades to classrooms, restrooms and food service areas; safety and security improvements; and repairs to roofs, windows, electrical systems, plumbing systems, and heating and air conditioning.
At Grove Elementary and the two middle school campuses, the plan is to add classroom space; add bollards in school pick-up/drop-off zones and traffic safety barriers; install a new digital phone system; and conduct various repairs to masonry, piping, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, among other items.
The elementary school will get more classroom space for STEM (science, engineering, technology and math) and students with special needs. The middle school's Station Campus will get new theatrical stage lighting in the cafeteria. The Prairie Campus will get a new roof, new lockers in the locker rooms, and restroom upgrades.
Principals and teachers gave input for the projects, Kazmier said. The district held virtual informational meetings in August for the projects at Prairie and Station, and last week for the project at Grove Elementary. The presentations are available online under the "timeline" tab at barrington220.org/build220.
"We are excited to start this summer with these initial projects," Harris said.