This summer, roughly $3.7 million worth of improvements will be under construction at Oak Park and River Forest High School. The work ranges from relatively mundane upgrades to the heating and air-conditioning systems to anticipated replacements of the artificial turf at the high school’s football stadium.
The District 200 school board unanimously approved the work back in December. The district started the public bidding process in last October, but the design process for summer construction typically starts in March “of the prior construction year,” according to a memo by Jeff Bergman, the district’s construction supervisor, and Fred Preuss, the district’s director of buildings and grounds.
The early start allows the district “to receive better pricing during the bidding process,” they said in the memo. “It also allows us to get the submittal process going ahead of all the other construction projects that are going on in the summer timeframe.”
Tod Altenberg, the district’s chief school business official, said that the football field turf has been used for nearly a decade and the eight-year warranty is up. The district has budgeted nearly $300,000 to purchase and install the new turf.
Other work includes the replacement of an air handler, the replacement of three steam heat exchangers with two gas-fired, high-efficiency water boilers, the replacement of analog security cameras with digital cameras and a series of upgrades to the electrical and fire sprinkler systems.
The cost for the summer 2018 construction projects is higher than original budget estimates by around $170,000, or roughly 5 percent. Last year, the district budgeted $4.3 million for summer construction work while actually spending around $4 million.