Members of the Forest Park School District 91 Board of Education unanimously approved an architectural firm’s proposal to survey its five buildings as part of the state-mandated 10-year life safety-survey for schools throughout Illinois. 

Board members approved proposal from Wight & Company at a cost not to exceed $46,000 at their regular meeting on June 12. 

The Darien-based architecture, engineering and construction firm will go into all the district’s buildings and survey the heating, air conditioning, lighting and more, looking into anything that could impact the safety of students. 

Wight & Company will start the survey by mid-July, and should be done looking at the buildings by the end of the year, said Ed Brophy, assistant superintendent for operations.

“They’ll determine what needs improvement, replacement, if there’s anything that needs to be brought up to compliance, that sort of thing,” Brophy said at the meeting. 

The school board did not solicit bids for the plan because it retains Wight as the district’s architectural firm of record.

Wight & Company is the same firm that completed designed and managed construction of an addition at Betsy Ross Elementary School in 2014, and their familiarity should speed up examination of the building, Brophy said. 

Once the life safety survey is complete, Brophy said he expects the district to plan on “substantial expenditures” to update the compressor units at Forest Park Middle School and Field-Stevenson Elementary School. 

At the May 12 Board of education meeting, Brophy also said District 91 likely will need to install a new roof at its district office and a new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system at Grant-White Elementary School. 

Both Grant-White and Betsy Ross were built in the early 1900s, he said, which “presents a challenge for a district that has our configuration. When you have these kinds of buildings they get costly to maintain over time.” 

Money for renovations — the district will solicit bids for construction — will come from District 91’s Fire Prevention and Life Safety fund, which has a reserve of more than $750,000, Brophy said.