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D-302 provides update on capital improvements

Kaneland School District 302 Associate Superintendent Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs and Director of Buildings and Grounds Mark Payton provided an update on this year’s capital improvements in the district and shared details on what's suggested for summer 2018.

The two made their presentation during a school board meeting Oct. 30. They spent September and October gathering information by visiting with each of the district’s school administrators to review completed improvements and repairs; evaluate the status of each school building, structures and grounds; and discuss immediate needs for 2018 and beyond.

There were eight projects as part of the plan for 2017, and most have been completed.

“They will be completed by the end of the school year or maybe even sooner,” Fuchs said. “We’re still waiting on [Athletic Director] Pete [Goff] about the driver’s ed cars, and Mr. [Aaron] Puckett still needs to buy more band instruments, but other than that everything else is done.”

The most costly improvement was the replacement of carpet at John Stewart Elementary and John Shields Elementary schools for $316,620, which was under the estimate of $500,000. Improvements at the high school have included lock replacement in hallway lockers, a small repair of the track, and classroom furniture replacement.

The phone systems were replaced at Kaneland Middle School and all of the district elementary schools, and life safety projects were completed at McDoleElementary and Blackberry Creek Elementary.

The estimated costs were $888,425, but the actual costs were $642.872.30.

“That’s a nice positive,” Fuchs said. “We’re very pleased with that estimate. When we bid on projects, sometimes the bids come in low, depending on how competitive they are.”

The needs for 2018 were shared in order of priority. There were 14 items listed, although all of them likely will not be able to be completed next year, with the estimated total cost just under $1.2 million.

“We have to figure out a way to stop spending so much money for our operating budget before we look at doing some of the capital projects that are improvements but not needed for safety,” Fuchs said. “You can see life safety projects have to be prioritized first, and we have to – by law – get those done.”

Life safety projects at McDole Elementary and Blackberry Creek Elementary schools; masonry at Blackberry Creek Elementary, John Shields Elementary, McDole Elementary and Harter Middle School; and sealcoating/crackfilling at John Stewart Elementary, John Shields Elementary, Harter Middle School and Kaneland High School are the three most identified needs for 2018.

The most costly capital improvements are being suggested for Kaneland High School, including the replacement of a gym floor and bleachers,upgrading two bathrooms and repairing drainage on the baseball field.

“They won’t approve the whole thing because I won’t recommend the whole thing,” said Fuchs. “So it will be some of the items on the list.”

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