Wheaton’s Community Unit School District 200 has approved the third, $123,000 phase of a contract with architect Perkins + Will to continue its review about what infrastructure changes and improvements are needed to bring the schools into the next century.
“The firm already had presented the board with its broad assessment of district buildings after a slew of school visits. The board originally hired the firm in June to provide recommendations for facility improvements across the district to better accommodate new learning techniques and technology,” mysuburbanlife.com has reported. “It also summarized 66 survey responses from community members attending the district’s September state of the district address.”
The probe’s objective is to pair the research with the district’s list of millions of dollars in facility needs including roofs, parking lots and HVAC systems, to ensure construction is coordinated with the future in mind.
There was some dissension — with two votes against the five in favor — of hiring the architects to hold three community engagement sessions to integrate district residents into the planning process. “The board will have another vote in February 2016 to potentially hire the firm again to come up with a final plan for how to go about executing the proposal,” the website reported.
Board vice-president Brad Paulsen said the repeated efforts to get public feedback on the project are “unique” and residents would have a chance to form the solution, not be told the solution.
“We’re moving from the stage of getting input, making observations about the buildings, creating summaries of the needs, to the stage of kind of developing and defining concepts,” he was quoted as saying. “This is where we begin to put the guiding principles, the needs, the vision in place and figure out how to apply that in the unique constraints of each individual building.”
Board members Jim Mathieson and Jim Gambaiani voted against the measure. Mathieson said he wasn’t sure the money was worth the return and expressed concern about the number of engagement sessions. The pair also voted against hiring Perkins + Will in June.
The sessions are scheduled for Dec. 2, Jan. 20 and Feb. 17.