Master Facility Planning Recap
August 17th, 2023
Good evening 109 community,
Last night, the Deerfield Public Schools District 109 Board of Education held a Committee of the Whole to discuss the administration’s Master Facility Plan recommendation.
The Master Facility Planning Steering Committee considered a number of strategies guiding the administration’s recommendation on how to address our forecasted educational and infrastructure needs. My recommendation is to further develop and vet the strategy that would eventually replace our four elementary schools with new buildings while making improvements to our middle schools.
Your voice will play an important role as last night’s meeting is just the first step in a long process that will take several years. There will be forthcoming opportunities for engagement with our families, staff, and community, along with discussions with our partners at the village and the park district.
I invite you to read the notes from last night's meeting below which include the recording and slides presented to the board. Thank you for your commitment to our schools and to public education here in Deerfield.
Michael V. Simeck
Superintendent of Schools
August 29th, 2023 - Committee of the Whole Meeting
What is a Committee of the Whole meeting?
In District 109, a Committee of the Whole meeting is a public, open meeting that the Board of Education can hold to discuss issues in a group setting. However, it is our practice that, unlike a regular meeting, they cannot take any official action.
Watch The Meeting Recording Below:
Master Facility Planning Discussion
Dr. Filippi pointed out that it is important to note that this presentation is an outline of strategy for the years ahead. No individual projects will be approved tonight. Any projects would still need to go through the facility development committee of the board and our normal approval process.
A panel of experts that have been working closely with the district on this process were on hand to answer questions: Jeff Huck and George Demarakis from the architecture firm ARCON Associates, along with Elizabeth Hennessy with Raymond James Public Finance.
Mr. Huck walked through the process that got us to this point. The discovery phase involved physical condition as well as educational needs assessments of our current facilities. The visioning phase involved putting together a steering committee comprising a wide range of stakeholders. They helped develop ideas, which can then be refined and eventually make their way to the board. Additionally, the group toured some peer schools that had recently undergone renovation to generate ideas and discussion. The activation phase involved the development and testing of various strategies. The group considered a numbers of strategies ranging from maintenance only to renovation, to brand new construction. The analysis & recommendations piece involved vetting a number of strategies to identify educationally and financially viable strategies.
After discussion, three options rose to the forefront:
- Strategy A - Maintenance Only
- Strategy B - Maintenance/Additions/Renovations at 4 Elementary Schools, Maintenance/Additions/Renovations at Middle Schools
- Strategy C - Replacement of 4 Elementary Schools, and Maintenance/Additions/Renovations at Middle Schools
Dr. Filippi walked the group through the three strategies.
Strategy A - Maintenance Only
Net 20-Year Cost: $155.2 million
- Lowest net 20-year cost of all 3 options
- Can be achieved without going to referendum
- Plans for all maintenance that can be reasonably forecasted
- Offers no improvements to school facilities to address educational shortcomings
- Replacement of HVAC equipment is costly, and the limits of retrofitting equipment to buildings not designed to accommodate air conditioning means air quality will be less than is preferred.
- Does not address sewer infrastructure. Replacement of end of life sewer piping is not practical. This option only includes an allowance for repairs.
- Scope of maintenance work needed will be disruptive to the educational environment.
- Totals to maintain buildings over the subsequent 20 years (if feasible) should be expected to be higher than this 20-year plan.
Strategy B - Maintenance/Renovation at all 6 Schools
Net 20-Year Cost: $209.5 million
Estimated Referendum Impact: $373 on a $500,000 home
- Plans for all maintenance that can be reasonably forecasted.
- Makes modest improvements to elementary facilities that would be appreciated.
- Concerns about end of life cycle sewer piping and poor HVAC system performance would not be addressed.
- Does not “check enough boxes” on educational needs.
- Scope of work will be disruptive to the educational environment. Possibility that we would need to relocate at least a portion of classrooms at some schools during construction.
- Requires a referendum, but the age and condition of existing facilities suggests the investment will not be a wise use of funds.
Strategy C: Replacement of 4 Elementary Schools, and Maintenance/Additions/Renovations at Middle Schools
Net 20-Year Cost: $258.1 Million
Estimated Referendum Impact: $563 on a $500,000 home
- Addresses all educational needs at the 4 elementary schools.
- Accounts for maintenance at the middle schools for the next 20 years, and makes some modest improvements.
- Elementary schools would be 30% larger and designed for modern air quality and safety needs.
- Construction would be far less disruptive to educational programming. New facilities could be constructed adjacent to existing schools while they remain in operation.
- In the next 20-year period, projected expenditures to maintain these facilities would be significantly lower than were the district to keep the original 4 buildings in operation.
- Would position future Boards of Education and the community to address the aging middle schools in the mid to late 2040’s.
- Highest cost in the short term - net $102 million dollars more than maintenance only.
- Requires a referendum.
The timing of everything described above is subject to change and re-evaluation as we proceed through the process.
Superintendent Simeck has recommended to the Board of Education that they focus their efforts on further exploring Option C with our stakeholders.
He would recommend exploring Option C with our stakeholders. There is a great deal of community engagement that is necessary and needs to happen before proceeding, but this will help the administration plan from a financial and logistical standpoint over the next few years. This is not a final decision, and there would still be future opportunities to change course if circumstances warrant us doing so. Mr. Simeck recommends that the board discuss the strategic direction of Strategy C.
The board had a lengthy discussion and asked questions of the administration and financial/architectural experts at the meeting.
The board then reached consensus that the administration should further explore and vet option C.