Category Archives: Uncategorized

Northside, Millikin and GHS Projects Progressing

Excavation of the site for the new addition at Northside has begun in earnest.  The fencing will certainly restrict some of the available playground space for students in the fall and spring of 2016-17, but the short sacrifice will be well worth the inconvenience.  And we certainly want to do all we can to ensure student safety!

The remodeling work inside at Millikin School is going very well and may be at 75% completed.  You can see the new canopy is being set now and much of the new exterior material will be up over the next few weeks.

High School excavation and site work beginning around the new concert hall area.  Houses purchased by the district coming down for both some construction staging work, but also for eventual additional parking for events (and won’t that be nice?) but once we open the new set of bids in a couple of weeks we hope to see even more contractor trucks and equipment onsite!

millikincanopy Northsideexcavation1

And so the work begins!

ProjectLEAF has been quite a while coming, but now we have accepted bids for both the Millikin project and the Northside project.¬† First point of order is to make sure that we prepare classrooms to be renovated at Millikin by clearing out teacher and student supplies from rooms.¬† Much work must be completed this summer to renovate the classrooms and office at Millikin before school starts up again in August.¬† This picture shows how full the Millikin cafeteria is with interior contents already… and the gym looks just as full.¬† Stay tuned for more pictures and progress each week!

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ProjectLEAF Quick Update

Hello Friends of District 228!
Many of you have been involved in a variety of levels with the ProjectLEAF initiative, perhaps even back to early 2013 with the campaign for the county sales tax.

But I wanted to take a moment to try to catch you up on what’s transpired over the past several months, since we are now just past the one year anniversary of the April 2015 final referendum passing.
1.  We have accepted bids to begin work at Millikin School and will be constructing a 21st century learning space addition that will be a place where a variety of projects can engage students.  There can be science curriculum, art, even drama can be taught in this space.  We will also be remodeling the library space, creating some new student and staff meeting spaces, as well as updating floors, lights and the entryway to the building.  This project will begin this summer and all work will be completed by the opening of the 2017-18 school year.
2.¬† We will be accepting bids for the Northside School project soon and bids are due on May 18th.¬† We had a very well attended pre-bid meeting there this morning. We will be constructing a new addition at Northside, which will include a new kitchen and cafeteria, a similar 21st century learning space, new art room and new music room.¬† We will also be doing some significant renovation to the rest of the building, and even hope to construct a small parking lot at the southwest corner of the property.¬† New playground equipment is also part of those plans.¬† This project will begin this summer and follow a timeline similar to Millikin’s.
3.  There is no work at Southwest or the Middle School this summer or next school year.  Planning and design work will begin at those sites next fall.
4.  The project that seems to be carrying the most concern is at Geneseo High School.  We put together bid documents for what we hoped was approximately $19.5M worth of work.  Included was a new stadium, new 850 seat concert hall, a new 300+ seat theater, new library, 2D and 3D art rooms, a new Maker Space (more of an adult 21st century learning space mentioned for the grade schools), renovated offices and more secure vestibule entryway.  We also had planned originally to renovate the HS kitchen and dining areas.
Unfortunately our first set of bids came in roughly $3M over our budget, so the District had to decide if we would reduce the scope of work, the quality of work, or some combination of both.
When we started looking at our options, the low general contractor bidder on the HS project also happens to work in construction management.  So the architectural firm who we partnered with on the design and specifications, began conversations with this contractor to see if there was any possible way to look at the bid and try to negotiate down to an agreeable figure.  This was not possible based upon our initial bid as we had too high a percentage of difference between the bid and the budget.
At that point we were approached by this general contractor/construction management about contracting with them to serve in an advisory/liaison role with our architect to assist in reducing the scope of our HS project.  This process has gone well and the District believes we are in a position to publish some prime bid documents to move the HS project forward yet this summer.
To be clear though, there are some reductions in scope and some of the amenities that were in the original bid package.  Here is a quick rundown of what we are putting in our base bid:
Stadium with 8 lane track, field turf
Concert hall with roughly 850 seats
Theater with roughly 320 seats
1 new band practice room (not two as there is the dedicated concert hall stage)
1 new choir practice room
New Library
New 2D and 3D art rooms
New “Maker Space” room
New secure entryway into HS
Remodel north-south hallway corridors (new floors, lights, lockers)
We also have a few items that we will put out as alternate bids.  Here are the major pieces:
New parking lot to the west of State St across from the HS
East-West hallway corridor renovations

Please note that while there may be some demolition this summer of 2016, nothing will be finished this summer.  So no new football stadium or concert hall, etc until 2017.
We know that you join us in remaining excited about the future of this construction and we appreciate your patience as we try to coordinate the largest construction project in the history of the school district.
Please feel free to share this information, and do not hesitate to contact me should you have further questions.¬† Thank you–Scott Kuffel, Superintendent

What Is the Age and Size of our Schools Today?

With the conversation surrounding ProjectLEAF growing, and more questions arise about the possibilities surrounding new construction, it may be helpful to take a look at what our current facilities are like.  So here is a quick overview of our schools:


Northside Elementary School
1961 Original Building                                   15,372 sf
1963 Addition (North Classrooms)           4,164 sf
1968 Addition (SW Classrooms)                  10,626 sf
2011 Addition (West Classrooms)                2,220 sf
                  Total sf                                                        32,382 sf
Milikin Elementary School
1967 Original Building                                                          44,897 sf
Southwest Elementary School
1972 Original Building                                                          42,750 sf
Geneseo Middle School
1997 Original Building                                                          84,000 sf
Genseo High School
1952 Original Building                                  71,609 sf
1954 Addition (North Classrooms)           6,395 sf
1954 Addition (Part of Wrestling)              2,286 sf
1963 Addition (South Auditorium)            37,205 sf
1963 Addition (Cafeteria Extension)       1,604 sf
1963 Addition (Small Gym)                             6,072 sf
1963 Addition (Locker Room)                       2,552 sf
1973 Addition (NE Classrooms)                   7,304 sf
1989 Addition (Locker Room)                       2,170 sf
1998 Addition (SE Classrooms)                    11,524 sf
1998 Addition (Storage/Wrestling)              2,637 sf
2011 Greenhouse                                                792 sf
                  Total sf                                                        152,150 sf


Quick Summary of ProjectLEAF

Here is a quick summary of the chronology and the recommendation that is ProjectLEAF.

Following the April 2013 County Sales Tax for School Facilities vote, the District 228 Board of Education engaged more than 330 community members in 5 different planning sessions held from January 2014 through May 2014.  In September of 2014, a Facilitating team of 12 members recommended to the Board of Education, their best compilation of the desires of the community that reflected both an innovative and comprehensive facilities improvement plan that was designed in the most cost-effective manner.

There are 3 main components of the plan:

Part 1 includes approximately $9M in Health/Life Safety projects that are included in a required 10 Year Survey that the District must conduct by statute.  The Illinois State Architect reviews and ultimately approves these projects, which then allow for the use of property tax dollars in the form of Health/Life Safety Bonds or through the regular Health/Life Safety survey tax levy.  The bonds can be issued in the amount needed, while the levy generates approximately $160,000 per year.  Obviously, in our case, we would need to issue the bonds to cover these necessary improvements.  The projects include items like a new roof at the HS, SW, MIL.  New flooring at the MS, new windows at Northside and many other energy efficiency, safety, security and accessibility issues.

Part 2 and Part 3 would include the numerous enhancements, alterations, additions and repair work at all the schools.  This includes projects such as a new 850 seat auditorium with state of the art sound, stage, storage and dressing areas at Geneseo High School.  Remodeled and repurposed areas for band and choir practices and classes, new 2D and 3D visual art space, and renovated and technologically advanced vocational/technical areas are also included in the plans at the High School.

A new 8 lane track, field turf on the Bob Reade Field, and new, handicapped accessible bleachers—which will seat 2500 home spectators is included in the project list.  Coinciding with the construction will be a new landscaped area to the west of the bleachers for more inviting and accessible concession and congregating areas.

The 3rd major component will be the addition of an All Purpose Room (gym) and new classroom space at Northside Elementary School is planned.  Additionally, hands on classroom additions are planned at Millikin and Southwest to accommodate a growing need for Science/Technology/Engineering and Math curriculum on the way.

The total cost of Part 2 and Part 3 is approximately $27.5M.  Conservatively we are planning on $11M of this being paid for by the sales tax revenues.  We can only use 80% of the total sales tax revenues, which is why the number may appear lower than anticipated.

This leaves the shortfall of $16.5M to complete the project, hence the reason for a referendum question requesting permission to issue $16.5M in general obligation bonds.

The good news is that after the 2015 tax levy in December, the school district will have repaid all of the construction bonds for Geneseo Middle School and all of the recent Health/Life Safety bonds that paid for all of the work completed with our last 10 Year Health/Life Safety Survey work.  Therefore, a successful referendum will allow us to complete all of the $36.5M construction projects mentioned without raising the existing bond and interest tax rate.  The more favorable the bond rate, and the more favorable the bids for work come in, the more the District could be even more sensitive to the overall tax rate.  But please note, this is NOT saying that the overall tax rate will lower.  There are many variables that determine the property taxes a property owner pays.  The overall equalized assessed valuation of district properties can fluctuate even if the District asks for the same dollar mount of the levy, which changes the tax rate.  The value of an individual owner’s property may change, also impacting their tax obligation.  But the Board of Education desires to keep the Bond and Interest rate as close to the current rate as possible.

We will continue to make available the most factual information we can.  The site we used previously for ProjectLEAF communications will be again utilized.

ProjectLEAF Ready for April 7, 2015 Referendum Vote

Great excitement surrounds the upcoming April 7, 2015 vote, requesting  permission to issue $16.5M in bonds to bring the final recommendations from the ProjectLEAF Facilitating Team to life!  These renderings give a glimpse of what is possible for our School District two years from the passage of the County Schools Facilities Sales Tax.

A summary of the proposal includes approximately $9M in Health/Life Safety compliance work– projects such as a new roof at Southwest, new roof at the High School, new geothermal heating and air conditioning system at Southwest, and other state-required compliance work.

Additionally, there will be roughly $27M worth of additions, renovations and enhancements to all five schools.  Projects such as a new auditorium with 850 seats and improved sound at Geneseo High School, a new stadium  with field turf and an 8-lane track at Geneseo High School, a new gym/all purpose room and some additional classrooms at Northside, interior walls at Southwest, and numerous places of enhancements to turn all of our schools into inviting, innovative, and more interesting 21st Century Learning Environments.

This site will be a great location for factual information as we move closer to the April 7, 2015 election date.

Remember, that ProjectLEAF included an acronym for a “LEGACY of EXCELLENCE AIMING for the FUTURE”.¬†¬† You can be part of history and part of this legacy on April 7th.¬† SHARE this as you see fit.