Edward Condon

As District 90 prepares to award bids to redo the exterior of Roosevelt Middle School, officials will also mull reaching an accommodation with the village government on the most contentious part of the project.

The bid that the district will accept at its meeting, slated for 7:30 p.m., April 20, will include adding 30 spaces to the North lot, the part of the project that drew the most controversy. Estimated cost has been put at $1.3 million.

Situated between the school and the public library, the lot initially was slated to include 20 spaces and a fairly large gathering area near the north gym. The district amended the application to add 10 temporary spots in the lot in hopes that the plan would pass village muster. 

In approving the application, the Development Review Board recommended, and village trustees approved in February, increasing the number of spaces to 30, drastically reducing the size of the gathering area. That pleased the library, which had no formally designated spots, disappointed the school district and drew the ire of the project’s supporters.

District 90 had 90 days to appeal the village’s decision from the time the decision came about, according to state law. And now with time running out, officials want to open up discussions to see if they can “moderate the use or configuration” of the lot, Supt. Ed Condon said. 

“It’s District 90’s preference to…work it out and avoid going to a judge at all costs. … It’s important to ensure that the district keeps its options open,” said Condon, who added that the board of education has not voted on whether or not to submit a formal appeal before a judge.

The only part of the project that the district would focus on during any talks with the village is the North lot, school board president Pat Meyer said.

“Nothing else comes into play. We have a continuing concern that the decision of the village gets in our way of fulfilling our statutory obligation when it comes to safety,” Meyer said. 

The district cannot pick and choose the elements that it wants to include in its bids, but must do the entire project. If a compromise is reached with the village, the district will approve what is called a change order, or a modification of the project, Condon said.

No one has formally reached out and asked for a discussion about this, said Village Administrator Eric Palm, but “I’d be happy to talk with anyone.”  

The plan the DRB reviewed and then set conditions on was first approved by the district in December 2013, tabled in April 2014 and revisited nearly six months later. Public testimony was taken on the project over five meetings, which began in November. The hearings were necessary because D90 sought an amendment to a planned development permit granted in 1997 on renovations to the school’s gymnasium. 

The DRB made its recommendations Feb. 19. Trustees by a 5-1 vote, with trustee Carmela Corsini, the lone dissent, approved the DRB’s findings.

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