Champaign school board OKs familiar firms for projects

Champaign school board OKs familiar firms for projects

CHAMPAIGN — The same firms that helped the district form its plans for the $183.4 million referendum, approved by voters in November, will now assist Unit 4 in the construction process.

All four firms approved this week by the school board will be a part of the district's project management team, which will oversee construction projects at six Unit 4 schools, plus the development of athletic facilities.

The Urbana-based IGW Architecture firm and Perkins and Will from the Chicago area will provide architecture and design consulting services; O'Shea Builders will work as the construction management firm; and Coleman and Associates will help meet goals of hiring minority- and female-owned businesses to participate in referendum projects.

"It's paramount we continue these partnerships that have been very successful," board President Chris Kloeppel said.

IGW, Perkins and Will, and O'Shea all played key roles in helping the board determine the scope, budget and design possibilities for each project it decided to include on the facilities proposal put before voters.

While all are now officially part of the management team, that doesn't necessarily mean that any of them will be awarded design or construction contracts for work on the six school projects, the board determined. Instead, it will put out a request for qualifications in the next few months for each individual project, giving a variety of contractors the opportunity to apply.

The board also discussed the structure of an oversight committee, which it would like to see run similarly to the Promises Made, Promises Kept group that oversaw the renovation of six Champaign elementary schools when the 1-cent county sales tax increase passed in 2009. The committee will have 15 to 20 members, including parents, district employees, union representatives, people from key community entities (the city of Champaign, village of Savoy, park district, MTD) and community professionals who are experienced in working on building projects.

Outgoing board member Lynn Stuckey said she wanted to make sure there were a variety of people serving on the committee and not the "same old" group of familiar faces from past committees. Other members agreed, with Kloeppel saying he's always in favor of getting input of people without professional experience.

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