The fine arts expansion project is on the agenda for the finance committee of District 233 at 7 a.m. on Friday, May 25. The meeting will be in the superintendent’s conference room at Homewood-Flossmoor High School.
More than 200 people attended the school board meeting on Tuesday, May 15, asking for information on what the board intended to do about the project after the Chronicle reported the committee failed to allocate money to cover the architectural drawings, the first step in starting Phase I of the project.
The construction project would include: Phase I – a black box theater, Phase II – a new wing for music programs and Phase III – a move for fine arts to a much larger space remodeled for its needs. The entire project was expected to cost around $12 million, but estimates were given for work to be done in phases. Phase I would cost between $3 and $3.5 million.
The board has $8.5 million in capital reserves that could fund Phase I.
This will be the second continuation of the finance committee meeting. On May 1, committee member Steve Anderson asked the administration to reduce the 2018-19 budget by 1 percent to cover the $190,000 for architectural fees for Phase I of the project.
At the continuation of that meeting on May 14, Anderson said he wouldn’t go along with the proposal because the administration found only $80,000 on its initial attempt at finding the money.
Member Tim Wenckus said he couldn’t support the project because of concerns for future expenses the board may be saddled with if the Illinois legislature were to shift teacher pensions onto local school districts, or impose a property tax freeze.
Member Jody Scariano, chairman of the finance committee, supported the project.
Ed Wright of DLA Architects, who is working on the project, had set a timeline for the board to approve the project this month so that it could be bid and work could begin in early fall. The plan was to have the black box under roof so crews could work inside during the winter months.