The March 9 D209 board of education meeting got heated. | File photo

In January, D209 administration announced that the district had fixed hundreds of health and life safety (HLS) issues in the three high school buildings, some dating back to the 1980s, including all urgent items and most of the recommended fixes.

Carl Giometti, project architect from Perkins & Will, talked about life safety issues during the January board meeting.

At Proviso Math and Science Academy, there were 85 items on the original survey, all of which will be completed in the next sequence of master facilities updates.

At East, there were 605 issues originally on the survey, and only 178 will be remaining after the next round of upgrades, largely items that will be corrected in subsequent fixes, particularly during electrical system upgrades and heating and ventilation work, Giometti said.

Giometti stressed that all urgent items have been resolved and required items will be fixed during the next phase of construction.

Board member Amanda Grant, who has served on the finance and facilities committee, pointed out how important these items are and how long some of them have been outstanding issues.

“All the urgent items of HLS from all schools are complete,” Grant said during the meeting. “These HLS items have been with us for decades. Some have been pushed off and pushed off and pushed off since the 1980s. These are really important changes we’re making to our schools to make them safer for our students and staff.”

Grant added that waiting until phase 3 of construction to finish the outstanding items will be a money-saver for the district.

In an email, Superintendent James Henderson said, “We’re proud to be delivering on a promise to make our facilities safer for our students and staff. In the first sequence of phase 1 work of our Facilities Master Plan, we tackled more than 800 health, life and safety issues to make sure our school buildings are up to code.”

Some of these items, according to Henderson, include:

•      Adding horns and strobe lights to emergency fire panel evacuation controls at Proviso East and West to ensure that individuals who are visually and hearing impaired can be properly alerted when a fire alarm has sounded.

•      Replacing doors in classrooms and hallways that had reached the end of their useful life.

•      Installing new fire doors in the stairwells at Proviso Math and Science Academy to ensure individuals can get out of the building safely, in the event of an emergency.

•      Upgrading parking lots and eliminating potholes at all three schools, decreasing danger and opportunity for injury.