ELBURN – The Elburn Village Board on Nov 6 approved the selection of Prairie Forge Group, a St. Charles-based design-build firm, for the expansion of Elburn Village Hall.
The project, which Prairie Forge Group bid at $582,410, comes in below the village engineer’s estimate of $600,000. Prairie Forge Group was chosen out of six companies that responded to the request for proposals based on cost, the company’s previous experience with public buildings and the design concepts it presented.
The company’s 40 years of experience with design-build projects of public buildings and pre-engineered structures added to the comfort level of village officials in choosing Prairie Forge Group.
The board also approved a contract with Engineering Enterprises Inc. for $7,500 to provide the engineering services for the building expansion.
The expansion is expected to break ground in March or April 2018, with completion expected by August 2018.
The expansion consists of the addition of 1,500 square feet on the village hall administrative side and 750 square feet to the police department.
The village’s short-term plan, which the board has discussed over a number of months, is to increase the space of the current building now. As the village population grows, a separate building for the police department will eventually become necessary.
Once the police department has moved out, the plan is for the village’s building department to move into its space. The building department will then become more of a community development entity, rather than being limited to its current building and zoning responsibilities.
Most of the trustees were positive about the plan and choice of company to perform the work; however, trustee Dave Gualdoni questioned the wisdom of spending money on the village’s current building.
He said, given the life expectancy of the building and its proximity to the railroad tracks, he had a hard time “throwing half a million dollars onto a tin building, especially when we’ve been crying for the last eight years [that] we’re broke.”
However, Village Administrator John Nevenhoven, the former public works superintendent, said that there is nothing wrong with the building, which was built in the 1990s.
“The building is in good shape,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with this building, other than it’s too small for our needs.”
Prairie Forge Group President Tom Tristano concurred with Nevenhoven. Tristano said that the building is “holding up pretty good” and “worth maintaining.” He said he has seen buildings such as this that were still in good shape 50 years after being built.
Village President Jeff Walter reiterated that the building expansion is only the short-term plan, which he feels will meet the village’s short-term needs.
Trustee Bill Grabarek agreed and said that the expansion “gets us out of the current space crunch.” He added that this plan is “doable within our current budget.”
He also said that public buildings often get repurposed, pointing to the village’s former fire station that currently houses J&R Herra Inc. Grabarek said when the village has the funding and is ready to take on the much larger project of a new municipal building, there could be another life for the current building.
The vote was 4-1, with Gualdoni the sole trustee opposed to the approval. Trustee Pat Schuberg was absent.
Village staff will bring back a contract with the Prairie Forge Group for the Village Board to approve at a future board meeting.