$4.5 Million Approved for Illinois School Projects

By SCN Staff

OAK PARK, Ill.—School board members for Oak Park and River Forest High School in Oak Park recently approved $4.5 million worth of capital improvement projects, which will take place this summer.

According to an article by the Chicago Tribune, at its meeting in mid-December, the OPRF board unanimously approved funding of $4,583,062 to Pepper Construction, which will disburse the money among the lowest qualified bidders for six separate bid packages. These summer 2020 projects are independent of the larger Project 1 campus renovation, which will also begin this year.

In total, the school received 32 bidders for the six summer construction packages, with bids being opened in mid-November. According to a district memo, substantial completion of the projects is slated for early August.

“We are over budget on what was budgeted [last] February,” said Chief Operations Officer Mike Carioscio. “The over budget is because of the roof [portion of the project].”

The work includes electrical panel and feeder replacement, testing of 12kV electrical switchgear, a VoIP phone system, auditorium lighting control replacement, transformer vault repairs, roofing replacement, masonry repairs and ceiling and lighting work in the 1 West Gym.

In a statement, Board Member Tom Cofsky said he would like to see a list of previous capital improvement projects, as well as projects that may be upcoming, which he feels will better guide future decisions.

“In the information provided, there was a little bit of a historical look back. Last year, we were $900,000 underspent on our capital, if I recall. As we talk about this work, there’s things that just keep coming up. It would be helpful as we do that to put them in perspective, a big picture perspective. Essentially, this work is about trying to take a 100-year-old building and make it modern. Having the perspective of where we are on that would be a helpful thing.”

Fellow board member Ralph Martire agreed and said a rolling 10-year plan would allow the board to budget more carefully and prioritize future projects.