JSD 117 looking at renovation options

Washington Elementary School could be next to see a major renovation if the Jacksonville School District 117 board decides at its Wednesday meeting to move forward with its Phase 3 Vision 117 plans.

The district is investigating potential renovation and construction projects that use sales tax revenues and emergency relief funds for elementary and high schools that have a spending deadline within a few years.

Chief Superintendent Steve Ptacek said in a video presentation to the community that the district is able to use the money and savings to complete various projects that will benefit the district’s schools.

“We are in a good position to have substantial money and to talk about renovations or substantial improvements to our buildings – some of which are extremely old,” said Ptacek.

One project would be a complete renovation of Washington Elementary School. The project is expected to cost approximately $ 11.1 million, with approximately $ 3.5 million for HVAC coming from ESSER funds and $ 7.6 million coming from the general fund.

“We had plans for this project because last year, before COVID, it looked like the school building grant could be funded and they talked about getting a shovel ready project ready,” Ptacek said. “Given that we had only priority to be on the Fiscal Year ’04 list, we really hoped this would be funded by the grant.”

The project includes new construction, including a new gym and administrative complex and an elevator; updates for electricity, plumbing and HVAC; and a renovation of the current building.

ESSER funds can only be used for projects that improve the health and safety of a school and improve conditions in the school.

Ptacek said the district is investigating several projects, including about $ 2.5 million for HVAC updates at North Elementary, $ 2.8 million for HVAC and walls at Eisenhower Elementary, $ 3.5 million for HVAC in Washington, and $ 1 million. 8 million for HVAC at the JHS Bowl.

ESSER funds are to be spent in September 2023 and September 2024.

The district now has between $ 7 million and $ 9 million in savings, about $ 12 million in bonding potential, and up to $ 3.5 million in ESSER funds. The district is also on the priority list for the state’s school construction grant – up to $ 24 million – although Ptacek said he doesn’t believe that will be funded and is not something the district can rely on.

If the board votes to proceed with renovations in Washington, it will curtail the district’s other projects, including the construction of a new East Grade School that would have housed Washington students and some South Jacksonville students, Ptacek said.

Since the video was released, there has been much discussion and concern about decisions related to Murrayville-Woodson Elementary School.

While the options include the option of renovating South Jacksonville Elementary School, setting up a new school near Washington, building a new school in Murrayville or Woodson, and completing several large-scale renovations to the current building, some of the options close Murrayville. Woodson.

Nothing will be done to the school until after a deep community engagement process, Ptacek said.

“I want to allay your fears, we don’t go to a board meeting and suddenly make the decision to close a school,” said Ptacek.

The board is scheduled to meet Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at the central office at 211 W. State St.

The meeting can be attended virtually on bit.ly/3frZtUh. Access code: 204108.

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