Batavia 101 holds forum on future of school buildings
Batavia Unit District 101 residents are being asked to help map the future of its school buildings and weigh in on how to pay to repair and maintain them.
The district will host its third "Building Our Future Together" forum at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the cafeteria at Batavia High School, 1201 W. Main Street. The meeting is a continuation of previous community forums regarding the need to repair school buildings and funding options, including a possible referendum.
"By being a part of the Building Our Future Together community engagement sessions, asking questions and providing feedback, community members will have more of an understanding of what our students need for future success," said Ginny Gaspar, a retired St. Charles school district teacher who is part of the Building Our Future Together facilitating team. "We can then ask how they think we can take our school facilities to the next level."
Last spring, a committee proposed rebuilding the district's four oldest elementary schools - Alice Gustafson, JB Nelson, Louise White and HC Nelson - and renovating the rest. In 2019, architects for the districts inspected each of the district's school buildings and found three of the eight schools to be in poor condition. The remaining five schools were listed in fair condition. The report also showed repairs to the district's four oldest schools would be too costly and recommended rebuilding.
At a community engagement session in February, officials presented three options for school improvements.
One option, with an estimated cost of $40 million, would not require voter approval and would only cover basic improvements; not reconstruction of the four elementary schools. A second option, with an estimated cost of $180 million, would require voter approval and would allow for improvements at schools and the reconstruction of two elementary schools. A third option, with a cost of $250 million, could allow for building improvements and the reconstruction of the four elementary schools, provided construction costs don't escalate during the five years it would take to complete the plan.
Thursday's community engagement session will review additional details, such as specific improvements for each school under each plan. The "Building Our Future Together" committee is expected to make a recommendation to the school board in May on which plan to pursue. If the district were to seek voter approval to fund the project, the referendum would likely occur in November, district spokeswoman Holly Deitchman.
Visit bps101.net/boft for additional information on the plan.