An aerial view of the Proviso East High School campus in Maywood. | Google Earth
Tuesday, June 27, 2017 || By Thomas Vogel/Forest Park Review || @maywoodnews
The Proviso District 209 Board of Education unanimously approved a contract with Chicago-based architecture firm Perkins and Will to draft a Facilities Master Plan and a Health Life Safety Survey at its June 13 meeting.
Work is set to begin this summer while school is not in session. The contract approval is the latest step in moving the district toward a more holistic vision for its campus facilities. For the last several years, D209 has been using a capital and construction list. A Facilities Master Plan, however, fuses curriculum needs, technological upgrades, current facility conditions, and enrollment projections into one document that is used for long-term planning.
“Our district spent many years not addressing the capital needs of our buildings. We are starting the process,” D209 Supt. Jesse Rodriguez told the Review in March after the board selected Perkins and Will. “There’s a lot to be done.”
The Health and Life Safety Plan will cost $179,900 and the Facilities Master Plan will be $139,900, according to district spokesperson Cynthia Moreno.
Drafting a facilities plan is also a necessary step toward dissolving the state-mandated Financial Oversight Panel. Such panels, according to Illinois law, are a way for the state to offer emergency financial management assistance to local school districts. D209 has had a FOP since 2008, although the panel was reorganized in 2012, expanding its powers and adding more members.
An aerial view of the Proviso West High School campus in Hillside. | Google Earth
“That’s the number one thing that has to happen,” Craig Shilling, the panel’s chairman, told the Review in March. “It is primarily getting the facilities piece into something that is sustainable.”
The project has several phases, beginning with a demographic survey to examine birth rates, enrollment trends and population change. Then Perkins and Will plans to audit the district’s buildings to ensure mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection components for compliance and identify any necessary upgrades.
The next step includes an “educational assessment” and “capacity analysis.” The Perkins and Will team will observe Proviso students during school hours in the fall to determine how the existing facilities at PMSA, Proviso East and Proviso West meet current educational needs. This includes examining classroom sizes, security features and student traffic flow during class breaks.
An oversight committee will be formed as well and will include district administrators, parents, faculty, staff, community members, and board of education members. The committee, which will meet bi-weekly throughout the process, will be a “sounding board as issues arise, meeting agendas are developed, [and] planning ideas/solution are generated,” according to the proposal submitted by Perkins and Will.
An aerial view of the PMSA campus in Forest Park. | Google Earth
There will be at least four bilingual community engagement meetings, too.
“The general intent of these community engagement sessions is to review the established vision driving the facilities master plan, highlight findings and issues at each campus, and thoughtfully articulate a range of possible solutions,” the proposal says.
Once final options are identified, with the help of the oversight committee, the school board will assess and, if necessary, get clarifications and feedback, before voting to approve the plan.
If all goes well, the process will be completed by spring 2018. VFP
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