During a special meeting on June 18, the Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200 school board voted unanimously to authorize administrators to start negotiations with a construction manager to oversee the first phase of long-term facilities work at the high school.
Administrators are negotiating with Chicago-based Pepper Construction Company and hope to finalize a contract in August. Pepper was chosen out of 11 firms that responded to a request for proposals.
In a June 18 memo, District 200 Chief Operations Officer Mike Carioscio explained that officials recommended Pepper, because the company "responded completely and effectively to all aspects of the RFP," spent "more time onsite and in our own building at their own financial risk to gain a better understanding of the work" and demonstrated "a clear understanding" of the first phase facilities work at the high school, among other reasons.
Last December, the D200 school board approved the first phase of long-term facilities improvements included in the 10-year master facilities plan created by the Imagine OPRF working group.
The first phase projects, which district officials said could cost an estimated $32.6 million, would include the renovation or construction of 76 general education classrooms, the reconstruction of the south cafeteria, the relocation of the library, the addition of all-gender bathrooms and the first phase of work on a new student commons area, among other capital improvements. The work would be funded by spending cash reserves.
During a June 18 special meeting, Carioscio said that district officials still need to engage a construction manager before they can establish a construction timeline and provide updated cost estimates for the first phase of work.
"In order to really provide you with a quality estimate of what the timeline would look like and to validate the costs that were presented by the Imagine team, we really felt that we had to have a number of things happen, but the main thing was the engagement of a construction manager," Carioscio said. "They're a key player in this estimate and absolutely essential for us to give you an estimate we feel we can live with, both in terms of the timeframe and in terms of cost."
Carioscio said that once a construction manager is hired, the company will be able to dig deeper into Imagine OPRF's capital improvement recommendations.
"One the things that keeps me awake at night is how we do this and minimize school disruption," he said, referencing the first phase work. "We're actually talking about taking the cafeteria down. We've got a bunch of kids we have to feed, so we have to figure that out, too. How do we manage all of this with minimal impact to school operations?"
Answer Book 2019
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