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Capital Improvement Update

In the fall of 2014 the District 29 Board of Education reopened its examination of the District's facilities needs.  After a comprehensive review of repair needs and facility shortcomings, the Board initiated a "Request for Proposals" to identify potential architectural firms to help us with further examining our capital improvement needs and options.
Three finalist architectural firms were selected to compete in an architectural design competition, in which each firm designed both a renovation project and a new construction project to address the District's needs. Click here for a summary of the District's repair and improvement needs. 
From this competition, and follow-up interviews, a committee of Board members, community members, and administration selected Wight + Co. as the District's architect and Pepper Construction as the Construction Management firm.  Click here to see Wight + Co.'s Architectural Design competition submissions.
Stakeholder Engagement
Following the selection of an architectural firm and a construction manager, the District began collecting feedback from staff, students, and community members regarding the values and priorities for the capital improvement. A series of formal and informal meetings were held to gather input from stakeholders to guide the capital improvement process. Simultaneously, the District launched "", a new website dedicated to sharing information and garnering feedback relative to capital improvement process. The feedback from these meetings and the website was shared with the District 29 Board of Education in April 2015 to inform them regarding the community's priorities for the project. Click here to see the April 27, 2015 Board of Education presentation.
The District also implemented a Capital Improvement Stewardship Committee, comprised of 25 community members (both those with students in the District and those without students in the District), Board of Education members, administration, staff, and students to serve as a sounding board for recommendations as the Capital Improvement planning process moves forward. 
Current Status
The District is currently in the "Programming Phase" of the project. During this phase, architects from Wight + Co. are collecting input from staff, students and community members regarding specific educational design priorities and features. This phase is expected to continue through the end of August 2015. We expect to have preliminary designs for consideration and review in early August 2015.  Click here to view a timeline of the "Needs Assessment Phase" and "Programming Phase" of the project. 
At the July 2015 Board meeting, the Board considered various site layout (e.g., building, fields, driveways) options, reviewed alternative designs for auditorium space, discussed historical preservation, and planned for the project financing. The Board directed Wight + Co. to pursue the following directions: 
1. Site Layout: Plan the building structure to occupy the eastern portion of the property, with field /playground space on the western portion of the property. Include access from both Willow Road and Sunset Ridge Road. Design green space on the east edge of the property as an educational tool, effective water management system,  and visual separation from neighbors. Pursue requests to construct a right turn lane onto the property from northbound Sunset Ridge Rd and possibly widen the Willow Rd entrance.
2. Auditorium Space: Investigate option for a combination of fixed and removable seated theater to optimize utility and functionality.
3. Historical Preservation: Plan to include historical elements (e.g., fireplace, wood work, original chalkboards, artwork, photos) of the current structure into the new building. Engage stakeholders to identify what specific elements should be preserved and how to best include and honor the District's history in the new structure.
3. Financing: Proceed with the projected budget of $25M for the construction of a new Sunset Ridge School. Utilize $2M from the District's Fund Balance towards this capital project. Finance $23M over a 20-year period and utilize existing annual revenue proceeds to pay "mortgage" payments. Utilize an additional $2M from the District Fund Balance to make capital improvements at Middlefork School.
The next step in the process is the Schematic Design Phase of the project. During this phase Wight + Co will develop specific design plans for cost estimates and review/feedback. Click here to view a timeline of the "Schematic Design Phase" of the project. We expect this phase to begin in late August and continue through the beginning of the school year.