During a July 17 regular meeting, the Oak Park Elementary Schools District 97 Board of Education voted to jumpstart the construction process at Lincoln Elementary School and Longfellow Elementary School. 

The board voted unanimously to allow the architectural firm STR Partners to start the bidding process for Lincoln and Longfellow. Board member Jim O’Connor was not in attendance. 

The Lincoln plan includes a three-story, west-side addition, a two-story, north-side addition, various interior renovations, the installation of a new elevator and wheelchair lift and additional classrooms, among other features.

Earlier this month, the district’s Finance Oversight and Review Committee (FORC) supported spending up to $30M on the two expansion projects utilizing the proceeds of the $57.5 million capital referendum bond issue that voters passed last April and the proceeds of the district’s Debt Service Extension Base, which is the total principal and interest the district can pay down each year for non-referendum general obligation bonds. 

The school board will have more discussion on more detailed plans for interior renovations at both schools at a board meeting in September. Renovations at both schools are scheduled to wrap up by sometime next year. 

District officials said that more precise cost information won’t be available until the bid documents are developed and bids are received. 

“At that point, the board will be able to further consider the projects with more specific cost information and will be able to approve (or not) the project contracts,” Paul Starck-King, the district’s assistant superintendent of finance and operations, stated in a July 13 memo. 

CONTACT: michael@oakpark.com    

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