Project to move grade schoolers advances

ROSSVILLE — The Rossville-Alvin school district is moving forward with a project to prepare the high school to house the grade school operations.

Board members earlier this week approved several agreements for design consulting work. They include:

— A contract to BLDD Architects for architectural work, $74,100.

— A contract to Bichel& Associates Inc. for roof design work, $5,100.

— A contract to WRF Engineering Services for mechanical, electrical and plumbing work, $57,200.

— A contract to Ideal Environmental Design Services for asbestos abatement, $58,000.

— A contract to Foth Infrastructure & Environmental Services for design work on the front drive, $10,000.

Board members also awarded a contract to CTS Group for portions of the renovation related to installing an heating and cooling system, electrical work, roof work, asbestos abatement and window installation. The price will not exceed a little more than $2.25 million.

"Those are all items that we need to get moving on because they need more lead time to order the equipment," Superintendent Crystal Johnson said.

Johnson said the contracts are contingent upon amendments to the district's health-life safety plan, among other things.

The amendments must still be approved by state education officials.

School officials decided to move K-8 operations from the grade school, at 350 N. Chicago St., in Rossville, to the high school building, directly across the street.

The move means that students — who go to the high school to eat meals in the cafeteria, use a computer lab and occasionally use the gym — wouldn't have to cross the busy highway, which is also Illinois 1, several times a day.

It also means the small district won't have to make costly repairs at both buildings. Officials have said that both of the schools' boilers are old and problematic, and the grade school's is older and doesn't function as well.

In addition, officials are running out of space at the grade school, and that building isn't equipped to handle newer technology that students need. The high school has much more space as well as a large parking lot.

The district hopes to finance the renovations by issuing bonds, and officials are also looking into grants. The district bonding capacity is between $3.7 million and $3.8 million.

But "our plan is to keep the project between the $3 million and $3.5 million that we previously spoke with the public about," Johnson said.

Johnson said the project has a tight time line. Officials plan to have the majority of the renovations completed before the start of the school year.

However, a project to convert the old ag/shop area into classrooms won't be done until later in the year.

"Those students will transfer to the newer building after that's complete," Johnson said, adding third-, fourth- and fifth-graders will start the school year in the current grade school building.

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