After more than a year of conference calls, committee meetings and public hearings, the Proviso Township High Schools District 209 Board of Education was set to take action on a proposed facilities master plan on Jan. 8 after the Forest Park Review’s press time.
The range of capital improvements in the master plan runs the gamut, from life-safety maintenance projects, electrical upgrades and air-conditioning installation to classroom and lab upgrades and repositioning athletic fields.
As a whole, the master plan encompasses possibly the most extensive capital improvement campaign in the district’s history and likely its costliest and lengthiest. District officials estimate that the plan could cost upwards of $100 million and could take nearly a decade to complete.
A vote to approve on Jan. 8 would have set in motion a series of events, such as the initiation of pre-design and design phases of construction and the selection of a construction manager to oversee the capital work, that would directly apply to the master plan’s initial phase — the first, and most extensive, of three phases.
During earlier conversations, district officials and architects from Perkins and Will, the firm hired last year to facilitate the master planning process, said that the first phase of work would feature projects that were listed as highest-priority among a consensus of community members, students and building administrators at the three campuses.
That first phase would cost an estimated $77 million and includes work at all three schools that could take until 2022 to complete. Around $48 million of that total expenditure, or 62 percent, would go toward improvements at Proviso East while $24 million, or 31 percent, would go toward improvements at Proviso West, and $5 million, or 7 percent, would go toward improvements at Proviso Math and Science Academy.
The most expensive capital projects at East include nearly $12 million in second- and third-floor electrical upgrades, $3.5 million in parking improvements (including new parking on the east side of First Avenue) and a stadium reconstruction project costing $7.4 million.
That project would include demolishing both the auto shop building and the current stadium before building a new stadium with an artificial turf field and a new running track.
At PMSA, the biggest project is $4.5 million in parking lot and traffic control improvements, including the reconfiguration of the parking lot.
During a school board meeting on Dec. 11, 2018, District 209 Superintendent Jesse Rodriguez said that the district already has on hand around $60 million to fund the phase one projects. He said that the other $17 million would be available through allocating three years of budget surpluses.
The second and third phases of the master plan could take construction work into 2028. District officials estimate that the second phase could cost $20 million and last from fiscal years 2023 to 2025.
District officials did not attach a cost estimate to the third phase, which could last until 2028, because it was too far out. Architects said that it’s difficult to determine cost estimates that are so far into the future, since factors like inflation and material costs could change tremendously.
Major second phase work at Proviso East includes $8.2 million for constructing a new central student commons area, $5.3 million in plumbing improvements, $10.6 million in required health and life-safety work, and $4 million in athletic field renovations, such as restoring the tennis courts and reconstructing the baseball and competition softball fields. Major second phase work at PMSA includes $1.2 million in cafeteria improvements.
To read the full plan, visit www.pths209.org.