Amended agreement means improvements for Deerfield High auditorium

Updated 8/31/2022 5:45 PM

Despite inflationary construction bids that prohibited an initial goal for reconstruction of Deerfield High School's Performing Arts Center, the Township High School District 113 board of education stood by its pledge to improve the facility.

Coming a week after the district's Facilities Committee discussed the project, on Aug. 23 the board approved an amended agreement with FGM Architects for 2023 auditorium improvements.


"Really, really important to our board and our Facilities Committee that the arts be alive and flourishing at Deerfield High School, even in this interim time," said board member and former board President Jodi Shapira.

"Obviously, we're all so sad and disappointed at the position we're in, but that does not mean that auditorium is staying the way it is."

That position was learning in June that bids for a more encompassing project -- a total rebuild of the auditorium -- came in $10 million more than budgeted, to $47 million from $37 million.

On July 12 the board tabled the bids and put the project on hold, but not for long. In a special meeting on June 28, Fine Arts Department staff was asked to find ways to increase the theater's "functionality."

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That they did, and worked with Brian Ahmer, District 113 director of Facilities Maintenance, to outline improvements for the architect.

"If we don't get it (approved) at this meeting," Shapira said at the Aug. 23 meeting, "it will be another year for our students at Deerfield High School to be without a Deerfield High School Fine Arts Center that we'd like it to be."

The total project cost, including soft costs not included in the initial budget, will be $8,445,420. Examples of soft costs include architect's fees, any surveys that must be done, consulting fees and furniture.

The scope of the work includes the removal and replacement of about 680 theater seats, new stage flooring, new stage rigging and curtains and a new theater ceiling and theater catwalks.

The project also calls for extending the fire suppression system, improving accessibility throughout the auditorium and stage, improving the lighting systems and the speaker, audiovisual and low-voltage systems.


The amendment stated that work should start on June 6, 2023, with substantial completion by Dec. 15. FGM intends to start working on schematics this month, according to the amendment. The construction manager remains Pepper Construction of Barrington.

Shapira urged a "rush on approving it because we want to get this work next summer."

Board members responded with a 7-0 vote of approval.

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