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D-87 seeks to spend $100M on facilities, may call for referendum

Published: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 12:39 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:48 a.m. CDT

Glenbard High School District 87 could spend as much as $100 million over 10 years updating its facilities.

The district's updated Master Facility Plan focuses on primary infrastructure improvements, as well as classroom renovations and additions designed to help students meet Common Core standards.

The plan was updated by Legat Architects of Chicago with input from the district and community. This input was collected during several months through stakeholder focus groups and a steering committee made up of board members, staff, faculty, administrators, students, parents and community members.

"It was really critical that we develop a process with them to really prioritize what needed to get done," Legat Architects President and CEO Patrick Brosnan said.

The plan was reviewed and accepted by the Board of Education in December 2011.

In June 2012, the district's Finance and Facility Committee began exploring funding options for the plan.

Legat Architects originally identified $179 million worth of work to be completed during the plan's 10-year cycle. However, the district scaled that back to $100 million, determining the other $79 million to be work that would be addressed in the following 10 years, said Chris McClain, assistant superintendent for business services.

Of the $100 million, $65 million will be funded by the district's Operations and Maintenance budget, which totals about $6.5 million each year. In order to provide available funding more quickly, the Finance and Facility Committee has proposed issuing bonds to borrow $20 million that will be paid off using that budget, McClain said.

Board members took the first steps to issuing these bonds at their meeting July 15, approving resolutions that established the board's authority to issue the bonds and a public meeting to discuss them. Neither resolution approved the actual issuance, however, but they are both part of the process the district is required to follow.

"These two requirements are precursors for us actually issuing bonds and receiving proceeds from those bonds," McClain said.

The public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 12 at the Robert C. Stevens Administration Center, 596 Crescent Blvd., Glen Ellyn.

The remaining $35 million would come from an extension of the district's current bond debt that is set to expire in future years. The extension will keep tax rates at their current levels, instead of allowing them to decrease.

The debt extension would require voter support through a referendum measure, which could come as early as spring 2014, McClain said.

In September, the district will hold community forums at each high school to discuss the plan, as well as other topics. After reviewing community feedback, the board is expected to make a decision in November whether to proceed with a referendum.

Once finances are determined, specific plans and designs for facility work will be developed based on what's been budgeted. Work could begin as early as next June, McClain said.

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