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Local

St. Charles School District moving forward to reuse Haines Middle School

Voted to authorize ATS&R to complete the construction and bid documents for the building and put the project out to bid

A project to repurpose the now-closed Haines Middle School continues to move forward.
At their Aug. 5 meeting, the majority of St. Charles District 303 School Board members voted to authorize ATS&R to complete the construction and bid documents for the Haines building and place the project out to bid.
A project to repurpose the now-closed Haines Middle School continues to move forward. At their Aug. 5 meeting, the majority of St. Charles District 303 School Board members voted to authorize ATS&R to complete the construction and bid documents for the Haines building and place the project out to bid.

ST. CHARLES – A project to repurpose the now-closed Haines Middle School continues to move forward.

At their Aug. 5 meeting, the majority of St. Charles District 303 School Board members voted to authorize ATS&R to complete the construction and bid documents for the Haines building and place the project out to bid. The fees for ATS&R to do the work are 7.75% of the construction costs, which are estimated at $4.4 million. Final construction costs will not be known until the bid opening in October

Board member Michael Bryant voted "no," saying that he was unclear about costs associated with preparing the bid documents and the timing in which that needed to be done. Board members also approved a lease agreement with the St. Charles Public Library District, which will lease space in the building during its upcoming renovation project.

The library district will pay $22,822 a month for use of the space. The agreement will run from March 1, 2010 to May 31, 2021 and the library would occupy a portion of the building as part of the project's first phase.

As proposed, the work would include alterations associated with the temporary accommodation of the library and the permanent accommodation of district offices, the district's transition program – which offers services for special needs students age 18-22 to prepare them for life as an independent adult – and the NorthEast Academy alternative program. In addition, the St. Charles Park District proposes to use space in the building.

Of the estimated $4.4 million cost to repurpose the building, $195,000 of that would be paid by others, bringing the district's cost down to about $4.2 million. Construction would start in November as part of a proposed timeline.

As proposed, the two-story wing on the front of the building would also be razed as part of the project's first phase. The first phase would also create space for the St. Charles Park District – which would take occupancy in January 2020 – as well as for student services offices. Phase two would include demolishing the sixth grade wing as well as creating space for the NorthEast Academy and the department of instruction as well as the creation of a community room.

As proposed, the transition program would move into the space previously used as the school's cafeteria. Board members also want to find out the cost of several alternate plans.

An alternate plan in the project's second phase would be the creation of a smaller space adjacent to the community room that could be used as a conference room. Another alternate plan would be to hold off on demolishing the sixth grade wing until after 2021.

"The library will be in that wing until May of 2021," St. Charles School Board President Carolyn Waibel said.

Waibel said holding off on demolition of the wing will also ensure the wing isn't torn down prior to completion of a facility master plan for the district, a process could take between 12 and 18 months. The last time the plan was updated was in 2008.

Board members are also discussing whether to also hold off on demolishing the building's two-story wing until an engineer determines the wing is not of any value and should be torn down.

"There was discussion at the table about bringing in an engineer to look at the two-story wing as well before we agree to demolish it in November, " Waibel said. "The board has not proceeded with that discussion. We'll discuss it in September."

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