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District 153 board calls for major facilities study

The Homewood District 153 school board has agreed to hire Wight & Company to undertake a physical plant assessment for its three schools. 
The study is intended to give the board information it needs to determine what improvements should be made to bring school operations and maintenance up-to-date. Wight will be paid $24,000. The district expects the report by spring.
Board member Alex Bosch said the report will be a “comprehensive study” of the district’s spaces. The study is one of the objectives of the district’s five-year strategic plan approved in 2017. 
Wight will examine Willow, Churchill and Hart Schools. The district has 225,665 gross square feet, according to Wight.  
  • The firm’s study will include five components: Architectural components, including walls, doors, roofing, etc., both inside and outside.
  • Examination of the mechanical plant, electrical power, fire alarm and sprinkler systems.
  • Site components, including parking lots, play areas and storm water management.
  • Accessibility compliance focusing on routes from parking to schools and maneuverability in the buildings.
  • Environmental concerns, such as asbestos, lead and air quality.
In its proposal to the board, the company said it will “determine the condition and estimated life expectancy of major systems and components.” 
The Wight staff will begin with examinations of major equipment and systems, followed by discussions with the district’s maintenance staffs. It will examine CAD files and available data.
The study will include a rating system that will help the district set priorities. The district’s construction manager will help provide cost estimates for repairs or equipment replacement. 
Wight told the board this study is not meant to give the district information on whether the spaces are adequate for the student population, curriculum needs or if the design meets current educational needs.

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