OPRF fleshes Imagine costs, project timelines

Tentative estimate is $4.6M more than Imagine's cost estimate

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

District 200 administrators have narrowed down to a concrete timeline and more defined cost estimates related to the first phase of capital improvements at the high school. 

During a Committee of the Whole meeting last month, Mike Carioscio, D200's chief operations officer; Josh Czerniak, of FGM architects; and Lanec Tritsch, of Peppers Construction Company presented a construction timeline that represents a compromise between the more aggressive preference of the school board and the more conservative option favored by the administration.   

Back in August, Carioscio presented the board with two timeline options. The administration favored the option that called for work on the south cafeteria, student common and special education improvements to start in 2021, with classroom renovations starting in 2022 and 2023. 

The board favored an option that called for construction on the south cafeteria to start in June 2020, while work on special education improvements, the student common and classroom renovations to start in 2021. The remaining work would take place in 2022. 

During the Committee of the Whole meeting on Sept. 17, however, Carioscio presented a hybrid option, considered a compromise between what the board favored and what the administration recommended. 

What Carioscio called Option 1.5 would start work on the south cafeteria and student resource center, all-gender bathrooms, and a test phase of classroom construction that would include up to five classroom renovations, among other improvements, in summer 2020. The remaining work, which would include the renovation or construction of around 70 additional classrooms, and the construction of a new student common area near the main entrance, would be extended out to the summer of 2023. 

Carioscio also presented a revision of the $32.6 million cost estimate related to phase one construction that was devised by Imagine OPRF — the committee formed in the spring of 2017 to create the high school's 10-year, long-term facilities master plan. The school board approved that plan in December 2018. 

Now that professional architects and contractors have been able to do a deeper dive Imagine OPRF's recommendations, Carioscio said, the revised estimate of phase one projects, which was done by Peppers Construction, has increased to $37.3 million — a difference of roughly $4.6 million. 

Carioscio and his team pointed to five factors that contributed to the differences in cost between Imagine's estimate and Peppers' estimate. Those factors included the difference in the construction contingency (Imagine's estimate includes a 12 percent design and construction contingency while Pepper Construction Company's estimate includes a 15 percent contingency). 

Imagine's original estimate also included 50 percent new construction and 50 percent renovation for the South Cafeteria and Student Resource Center while Peppers' current design and estimate includes 100 percent new construction. Peppers' estimate also includes a new four-stop elevator, which wasn't included in the Imagine estimate. 

"What Imagine set out to do was create a prioritized list of the needs of the district, put those together and come up with some rough estimates," Carioscio said. "This isn't saying they didn't do a good job. As we're going through what they did, compared to what actually has to happen to get the scope of work done, we're finding these differences." 

He identified a series of actions that could be taken to cut construction costs, but cautioned that the project budget is still being shaped and could change as the design and construction process evolves. 

Caroscio added that this month, he and his team will present a report on how the construction might impact the way the school operates, particularly how it might interfere with summer school. In November, he said, they'll present conceptual designs, including virtual walkthroughs of the space. And in December, he said, they'll have "better numbers, a better idea of scope — what makes sense to do and what makes sense not to do."

CONTACT: michael@oakpark.com  

Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and OakPark.com. We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

4 Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Bruce Kline  

Posted: October 19th, 2019 2:48 PM

On the contrary, I would suggest Kevin take a course in the modern administrative state. Operationally the Board works for the Administration. We - the taxpayers - serve our public servants. The whole system is up side down and inside out. Right down the ole rabbit hole, we have fallen.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: October 19th, 2019 2:30 PM

The town had a referendum vote on this. The Vote result was NO, the citizens did not want it. The response was to create a group stuffed with people from the YES team who proceeded as if they had won that vote, spending tax payers planning for the project anyway. What we are imagining is a world where votes mean nothing.

George Irving Thompson from Oak Park  

Posted: October 19th, 2019 12:00 PM

Kevin, I would suggest you take a course in business quality management. The people most effected by a change usually have better ideas and knowledge about the impact of the change. If their ideas are ignored quality and efficiencies will usually suffer.

Kevin Brubaker from Oak Park  

Posted: October 18th, 2019 4:51 PM

I'm agnostic on the timeline here, other than wanting to save tax dollars. But I am concerned about governance issues raised in this article. The Administration work for the Board. Why is there disagreement between the two, instead of the Administration working to execute the expressed wishes of the Board? And why is the contractor seeking a compromise instead of following the preferences of the elected Board?

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad