Danville school board shifts to next set of renovations

DANVILLE — With most of the "urgent" health-life safety projects crossed off their "to do" list, Danville schools officials are turning their attention toward the "required" projects that must be done.

On Wednesday evening, buildings and grounds director Ron Henton will update school board members on those projects, a tentative timeline for doing them and estimated price tags, which total around $15.7 million in today's dollars.

The Danville school board will meet at 6:30 p.m Wednesday at the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St., Danville. A copy of the agenda is available online at http://bit.ly/HC20WM.

"We need to continue to move forward with the buildings that we have," Superintendent Mark Denman said Monday, adding that addressing the needs now will keep the district's aging infrastructure viable well into the future.

The projects are included in the district's updated 10-year health-life safety plan that was filed with the state in March 2011.

Henton said the district completed most of the urgent items — those presenting immediate hazards to students, staff and visitors — within the first year, as required by the state. He said a few remaining projects — including replacing Danville High's fire alarm system — are in progress.

The required items — those that aren't urgent but are necessary for a safe environment — must be corrected within two to five years, Henton said.

Henton plans to review a brief list of "high dollar" items that will require a general contractor to complete. They include an estimated $4.06 million that's part of the renovation that's under way at North Ridge Middle School and an estimated $5.16 million that will be part of the renovation at East Park Elementary School that will begin next year.

Other work that's scheduled to be done this year includes removing and installing new doors and frames, abating asbestos as necessary and removing exterior windows and installing new "storefront" windows at Northeast Elementary Magnet School, estimated at about $333,414. It also includes removing and installing new exterior door frames and replacing door closures/panic devices at Southwest Elementary School, estimated at about $6,045.

Henton said he plans to submit cost estimates for the more expensive projects that will be done this year to board members in June, and also begin planning the 2013 work. If the board approves them, he will award contracts so that the work can be done over the summer break.

Denman said the district already has earmarked money for this year's work. The money will come from health-life safety and district funds.

Also at the meeting, board members will vote on whether to allow Danville High's new construction trades class to build a concession stand for the football field. The district would have to cover the cost of materials, estimated at about $10,000.

Denman said the stand would be built at the south end of Whitesell Field and replace the existing stand, which is more than 60 years old.

Principal Mark Neil said the project will give students an opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to a challenging, real-world project, and save the district a significant amount of money to boot. He said some of the work, such as electrical and plumbing, must be done by licensed contractors, but most of it can be done by the students and teacher Jim Humrichous.

In addition, Neil said, the project would allow students to form partnerships with community groups such as Habitat for Humanity, giving them an opportunity to help build a home.

"This would be a natural progression for this construction trades course and one which could prepare our students to enter the construction trades as a vocation, if this experience led them to this vocational path," Neil wrote in a memo.

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