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H-F High fine arts expansion on agenda for Monday meeting

H-F High fine arts expansion on agenda for Monday meeting The Finance Committee of District 233 will resume its discussion of the proposed fine arts expansion project at a 6 p.m. meeting Monday, Aug. 20, at Homewood-Flossmoor High School. The meeting will be in the school’s library. The agenda calls for Tim Wenckus, chairperson, and members Jody Scariano and Beth Larocca to discuss a number of topics, including a performing arts expansion project, the district’s operating reserves and a tentative 2018-19 budget. The fine arts expansion project was first presented to the board in September 2017 by Ed Wright of DLA Architects. Informational meetings were held with community members and H-F staff over several months. Several recommendations were put forward that increased the original cost estimate to between $12 and $14 million. The proposal was to move all fine arts programs into one wing. To accommodate this, two additions would be built onto the South Building – Phase I for performing arts and Phase II for the music programs – and Phase III relocating the visual arts program in space now occupied by music. The finance committee asked Wright to come up with a revised plan, which he presented in May. The plan cut the cost to between $10 and $11.4 million. The committee, then made up of Scariano as chair with Wenckus and school board president Steve Anderson, could not come to a final decision on moving forward. At the June school board meeting, H-F theater teacher J.R. Rose addressed the board. “I implore the board for a decision to move forward. We’re just running out of space,” he said. “We just want this to happen for our kids. That’s the bottom line and it feels like, from the rumors floating around, that there’s political motivations and things like that that it feels to me, at the bottom of all this, our kids are being held hostage by politically motivated decisions; choices that I just don’t understand.” He said students in the arts often practice in hallways. “It’s loud. It’s noisy. We’re trying our best, but when I’m assessing scenes and I have a tuba playing in the hallway, it’s a problem. “I know if anyone came up to the board and said we’re going to have three science classes in the hallway this year immediately the board would do something,” Rose told the school board members.

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