District 74 OKs Lincoln Hall work
District 74 Board Vice President/Secretary Darlene Fourkas and Board President Scott Anderson attend a special meeting Monday. | Natasha Wasinski~For Sun-Times Media
In other business, the District 74 Board of Education:
• adopted a 2012 levy for approximately $21.16 million, representing a .55-percent property-tax hike from last year. The 2011 tax extension was $21.05 million. Though tax-cap laws allow school districts this year to request up to three percent more in local tax money, the district settled on a reduced levy to keep approximately $260,000 in taxpayers’ pockets. A majority of new tax dollars would go toward the district’s education fund. Life safety and building initiatives would also receive additional support. No one spoke at the Dec. 6 public hearing.
• approved purchasing a $16,000 two-year insurance plan for 271 iPads used by seventh-grade students and staff. The decision came one month after the school board gave the OK to purchase additional iPads and a three-year insurance plan for devices used by sixth graders for $70,425.
• agreed to extend by one year an agreement with Contour Landscaping, Inc. of Skokie for outdoor campus maintenance at a cost of $5,150 per month.
• approved hiring Jonathan Hoffmann as the district’s network systems engineer with an annual salary of $70,000, as well as three hourly paid kindergarten teacher aides.
Updated: February 18, 2013 1:16AM
LINCOLNWOOD — Once on the brink of being torn down and rebuilt, Lincoln Hall is slated to undergo major renovations over the next four years to meet state regulations.
The School District 74 Board of Education recently authorized up to $500,000 in health/life safety work at the middle school beginning next summer.
The total cost of construction at Lincoln Hall is estimated at $2.17 million.
“We have a lot of work to do coming up very quickly,” said Business Manager Darrell Moon. “We’ll try to do as much as we can.”
Critical repairs scheduled for 2013 at Lincoln Hall involve replacing and labeling doors, adding solid-core doors with locks, adding emergency lights, restoring a floor finish and an internal exit door, and laminating drywall around a stairwell.
The summer work plan also includes underpinning and replacing cracked masonry walls and tuck-pointing the building’s exterior. Modified or replaced guardrails and handrails, a new divider curtain in the gym, and upgraded temperature controls would also be installed.
The life safety plans calls for repairing areas of the roof, expanding the HVAC system, and providing fire separations by 2016.
Moon said while Todd and Rutledge schools need additional emergency units to stay up to code, “We’re in pretty good shape in both those schools.” Todd Hall is expected to get new safety glass for a hall display next summer.
The last major repairs at Todd and Rutledge, built in 1955 and 1956, respectively, occurred two decades ago, Moon said.
The structural soundness of Lincoln Hall, however, is of serious concern, prompting the school board to seek the assessment services of an engineering firm.
The school underwent five additions in its 66-year history, with the most recent renovation happening in 1995. It has also been the center of debate for school district and community for the past two years.
Last March voters foiled a $25-million plan to rebuild the middle school by defeating the district’s referendum 10 to 1. The matter was set to a vote after a group of residents filed a lawsuit alleging the district broke the law by approving an issuance of bonds without first granting taxpayers the right to weigh in.
“The Board of Education did hear the community loud and clear at the last election,” said board member Georjean Hlepas Nickell. “What we’re trying to do is take a comprehensive look at the buildings and see what needs to be addressed.”
The Facilities Committee, chaired by Hlepas Nickell and John Vranas, began meeting regularly in November, and recommended plans for repair work at the schools to the Board of Education on Dec. 6.
Hlepas Nickell previously sat on the Facilities Committee when the district had looked toward replacing its aging buildings. The focus has since shifted to preservation, particularly of Lincoln Hall.
“I think this board is taking our lead from the community, and the community wanted to try and keep the building,” Hlepas Nickell said. “We need to continue to make it a great, safe learning place for children.”
Vranas added: “There’s a tremendous amount of energy and learning going on in these buildings.”
Over the past month the Facilities Committee toured the district’s three schools and reviewed life safety work schedules. The group is also considering other capital projects and working toward establishing a long-term plan for upgrading and maintaining the buildings.
Vranas, pleased with the committee’s membership, noted the importance of engaging residents with the school district.
Community members on the Facilities Committee are Paul Eisterhold, Kathy O’Brien, Mahmood Khan, Joe Ehrenberg, and Elaina Geraghty. District 74’s Director of Buildings and Grounds Jim Caldwell, and administrative personnel, have also participated in committee meetings.