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Air conditioning planned only at Roosevelt Middle School, for now

Air conditioning planned only at Roosevelt Middle School, for now

With public school funding still uncertain at the state level, the River Forest District 90 school board is planning to move ahead with a less ambitious air conditioning plan.

Administrators had initially discussed a plan for air conditioning all three of District 90’s buildings. With the future of state funding very much unknown, administrators are now proposing a plan to air condition only the Roosevelt Middle School auditorium.

“We are concerned with the uncertainty of revenue to the district and all the districts in Illinois over the foreseeable future,” Superintendent Ed Condon said. “The uncertainty right now makes it very hard for the consideration of administration to ask the board for a project that costs upwards of $3 million.”

At the Feb. 2 board meeting, administrators said a plan to provide mechanical, electrical, environmental and architectural upgrades for the Roosevelt auditorium would cost about $254,000. When engineering and contingency costs were factored in, the entire proposal is expected to cost as much as $307,000.

Though no official vote was taken, board members agreed with the administration’s recommendation, and the district will begin seeking bids for the project.

“That is an excellent investment,” said board member Richard Moore. “There are real numbers to suggest that climate affects learning.”

According to Director of Finance and Facilities Anthony Cozzi, the estimate to provide air conditioning for all of Roosevelt Middle School, Willard and Lincoln elementary schools was “in the $3.9 million range.”

A plan to air condition both elementary schools and just the auditorium at Roosevelt came in at slightly less than $3 million, Cozzi said.

The board previously discussed using a chilled water-technique and fans to cool classrooms as a cost-effective solution, a plan which could be discussed again when future financial data becomes clear.

“Potentially, when more information is known about revenues going forward, we can come back to the board this fall or winter again to discuss the possibility of some alternative solutions,” Condon said.

According to Cozzi, the district plans to bring bids back to the school board in the coming months with an eye toward completing the work for the 2016-17 school year.

“We’d like to get this out there as soon as possible,” Cozzi said. “This is a summer 2016 project.”

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