D96 zeroes in on school construction plans

Total cost for additions, renovations roughly $16 million

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By Bob Skolnik

Contributing Reporter

The Riverside Elementary School District 96 Board of Education took another step forward in its plans to improve to its four elementary schools by voting 6-0 last week to enter into a memorandum of understanding with DLA Architects to develop schematic designs for a large addition to Ames School, and smaller additions or renovations to the district's other three elementary schools. 

The board also voted 6-0 to approve a contract with Vistara Construction Services to act as the district's owner's representative on the projects.

Preliminary estimates for the total cost of the additions and renovations at the four elementary schools is $16,033,000. The largest and most expensive project will be done at Ames School, where an approximately 14,000-square-foot addition will be constructed to the back of the school. That addition alone is estimated to cost nearly $10 million. 

Work at Central School, which involves renovating the lower level and moving the main office is estimated to cost nearly $3.5 million, while a small addition to the back of Hollywood School is estimated to cost nearly $1.8 million.

Meanwhile, construction of a secure entrance vestibule at Blythe Park School, moving the main office and slightly altering the school's auditorium is estimated to cost about $775,000. 

More secure entrances will also be created at Central and Hollywood schools. The cost estimates will likely change when detailed designs are completed.

"Each of these schools are very different," said board member Joel Marhoul, who is a member of the district's facilities advisory committee. "The end goal is what is necessary, not that each school has to have the same student-per-square-foot ratio."

DLA will be paid $199,000 to develop schematic designs for the four elementary schools. Vistara is led by Ramesh Nair, who worked with the district on its last major renovation work in 2013. That company will be paid $20,440 for its work on the cost estimating of the schematic design and will be paid at least $322,006 in total for all its work on the projects which could be done over two summers.

The addition at Ames is expected to be built in 2020. The timing of the work at the other elementary schools has yet to be determined. The board hopes to have designs completed and approved by this fall and go out to bid in December.

Superintendent receives raise

In other action at the June 5 meeting, the school board voted 6-0 to give Superintendent Martha Ryan-Toye a 3 percent raise, boosting her annual salary to $193,640. 

The board also approved raises for 13 non-union staff members who are not central office administrators. Raises ranged from 2 percent to 4 percent, with lower-paid employees generally getting the higher percentage raises.

Bill Radke, the district's long time director of building and grounds, received the only 2 percent raise, boosting his salary to $102,035.

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