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Following delay, D161 asphalt repairs could happen at two schools in early June

After delaying asphalt replacement at Flossmoor Hills and Heather Hill elementary schools this summer because no one bid on the project, Flossmoor School District 161 is getting ready to move forward with work — though only one company bid on the work the second time around.

Associate Superintendent Fran LaBella presented the bid to the board for discussion only on Monday, Nov. 22, which if approved would pay Advantage Paving Solutions of Joliet $393,805 to sealcoat and perform asphalt repairs at both schools.

“It’s coming in a little higher than we had anticipated back last year when we were first looking to do this work,” LaBella said, noting they originally anticipated a bill of roughly $350,000 for the project. “But again, asphalt is an oil-based process, so we expected some of that.”

LaBella recommended the board accept the bid, with concerns that prices may continue to rise if the district waits any longer and potential bidders could get even busier than now.

“Our concern is if we don’t accept this bid it won’t happen again, and the asphalt is in serious need of repair, “ LaBella said.

The work was originally put out for bid in July, but LaBella said bidders did not think they could meet the district’s substantial completion date of mid-September, citing a shortage of manpower and delays in obtaining materials. The district opted to handle anything dangerous with in-house staff and rebid the remaining work in October, with hopes of scheduling it for the first week of June 2022.

Advantage has worked with other districts, met schedules and has no litigation pending with other districts, according to Wold Architects’ Mike Eichhorn. The company’s bid also matched other projects of the same scope in the district’s analysis.

Heather Hill, Serena Hills may get new playground equipment in early 2022
District 161 is eyeballing Feb. 1, 2022, as the latest date to order equipment if the school board wishes to move forward with new playgrounds at Heather Hill and Serena Hills elementary schools.

This summer, the district performed emergency repairs at playgrounds across the district with the intent of coming back to a full plan to address replacement structures for school playgrounds determined to be in “poor shape.” Originally, the board intended to revisit that plan in the winter, but Associate Superintendent Fran LaBella reported Nov. 22 that because of supply chain issues and worker shortages, experts have recommended the district push up its timeline.

“If we are going to do that, we need to move on it now,” LaBella told the board.

LaBella said the three playgrounds across the district in the worst condition are the two at Serena Hills and the north playground at Heather Hill. If the board wishes to see new playgrounds installed there by the summer of 2022, as originally discussed, contracts and equipment orders should be in no later than Feb. 1, LaBella said.

Team Reil and Wold Architects are working with committees at both schools to determine the type of equipment students, parents and staff want to see installed. LaBella said estimated costs for installation would be presented after those discussions, but the plan is to get the playgrounds from Sourcewell — a national purchasing contract cooperative that does the bidding and allows districts to purchase equipment through it.

More discussion and a vote for approval are expected in January, with the aim to have work completed by the start of school in August 2022, if approved.

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