Saturday, February 6, 2016

Comment of the Day: Grown-ups Don't Make Decisions This Way. It's Time to Scrap this Mess and Start Over.

This morning we received the comment below which we have chosen as our Comment of the Day.  We think it is timely, especially in light of the new Design Concept Comparison Chart that has been posted on Board Docs for Monday's (2/8/16) meeting, along with the other documents that have been prepared to support the Administration's and Facilities Committee "recommendation that the Board take action to select HMS Option G" -- a $65 million concept for a new HMS.  (See:  2/8/16 Board Report on HMS Design Concept Recommendation)  We believe it answers most of the questions that one of our readers asked last week and the answers are disturbing.

Following the Comment of the Day are some quick observations and OUR recommended course of action. As always, SOUND OFF!
Anonymous said...
All these hysterical people are posing a false dichotomy. The question is not whether the community should support renovations or a new school. The question is whether we should have a 400 dollar square foot building rammed down our throats as the only choice when the price jumped tens of millions of dollars at the last minuted. I feel like I am being sold a time share, buy now or it will be too late. And I know this is how Illinois got to where it is generally, how we got where we are on curriculum, and how mistakes are made generally. Yes, I know the committees spent a lot of time, and yes I know people, good people, have an emotional affair with the idea of the new building, but grownup so don't make decisions that way.

Do we need the new building? Not want, Need. I have no idea. I want to see, open for all to see, what a comprehensive renovation would cost with a clear eyed view of the pros and cons of a renovation as opposed to a new building. Can we afford the new building? Illinois heading into rough waters, even in our prosperous little corner, where not everybody is so prosperous. Even if by some measure we NEED a new building, if we can't afford it we can't build it. Absent data and an explanation, nobody is going to rush me to buy a time share like this, let alone a 65 million dollar building.

7. Oh, and let's not forget that the WINNING firm neglected to include in their estimate site cost premiums, owner soft cost and contingency and escalation estimates.  All of these "exclusions" are now referenced in the Design Concept Comparison Chart.  Yet many of these exclusions were actually included in the other two architect firms' competing design concepts.  We point this out because we want everyone to ask themselves the following questions:
  • How could the Facilities Committee or the Administration have chosen Cordogan as the winning firm?
  • Shouldn't SOMEONE on the Facilities Committee or the Administration have flagged all of these EXCLUSIONS from the concept that Cordogan submitted and questioned what the actual price would be if they added these features into their design?  
  • Shouldn't that information have been requested BEFORE Cordogan was given serious consideration or selected as the winning firm?
  • The Winning Design which was sold to the BOE as costing $46 million could NEVER have been expected to cost that, if all of the basic features listed above were left out of the plan.  Why weren't all of these INADEQUACIES identified last September, October, or November BEFORE  a firm was selected?
We really think that someone must believe that D181 voters are simply too stupid to realize the unbelievable BAIT AND SWITCH that has been perpetrated on all of us.  In our opinion, in their rush to get a referendum question on the March 2016 ballot, and to ask the voters for more tax money BEFORE  D86 could, the D181 Facilities Committee and Administration were careless, sloppy and frankly, probably selected the WRONG architectural firm.  We urge the BOE to scrap this entire plan, inform the D181 community that while the ballot may still have a referendum question on it (since it is probably too late to have it removed), that it will NOT go forward with the current or recommended $65 million plans to build a new HMS at this time.  

It is time to START OVER, and this time, do it right.


D181 Taxpayer said...

Once again, THANK YOU BLOGGERS! I agree with every single conclusion you make in your latest post and I thank you for spelling it out for all of us "idiots" in the community -- because it's clear as day that the Administration thinks that we are all idiots. For me it's really simple. Do I trust the Facilities Committee's or Administration's Recommendation? H--- NO! And I can't imagine how anyone else could trust them!

Anonymous said...

I agree that we need to start over and reconsider renovation. It was dismissed because it was within 75 percent of the cost to build new. Now that the new build cost has skyrocketed, additional soil bearing costs have been added to the demolition cost, and we have an extra cost to move the brand new portables - well a 35 mil renovation with no admin center looks pretty good. We could keep the portables while an addition with a first floor gym is built, and the third floor gym could be converted into classrooms. Then over the next 4 summers the existing structure and roof can be renovated. That would be cheaper and less disruptive to students. Enough is enough!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post today. I appreciate the time people are taking to write comments as well. There is no rush, especially since HMS is currently safe. Over $10 million has been spent on a new roof and repairs over the last 5 years. That money has bought us enough time. We need a new special education administrator who is overqualified so that he can help design a functional building. We also need to get the curriculm and advanced learning program fine tuned so that the new facility can reflect those student's needs met as well.

Alll options, from consolidation, renovation, or new location altogether must be thoroughly and factually investigated as and made public. If they are not, no referendum in the future will pass either. As many have stated, there is no trust anymore. Unless transparency, fiscal prudence and truthfulness become clearly evident, taxpayers will never open their wallets for a new school. They will just continue to send their children to private schools.

The Parents said...

We are posting the following comment that was submitted at 11:51 pm. with redaction of a name of a community member. Anonymous said: "Still shocked that we have people in this community openly supporting this particular referendum. Some of the people on that committee for a new HMS, are very solid citizens, many have done great things for this community, but I fear they have been duped. XXXXX putting her name on this still surprises me. I can't help but feel many of these people are so pro new school that they can't see they have a lemon here. The entire process has been flawed. The BOE and the facilities committee have shown themselves to be something less than amateur.

The democratic process is never efficient or clean and it won't or shouldn't be with this. If our political process works as it should, things will work out correctly, no guarantee but it should. Right now, this needs to be voted down. Voted down so it forces them to go back and sharpen their pencils. If this passes on the first ballot, the democratic process in this community has failed to properly function IMO. To me, you have a faction who want a new school and that is about as far as they want to think about it. I think there are many on the BOE and on the facilities committee counting that fact. Hell, Turek is referencing them on the cocktail circuit in meetings. People need to vote their conscious but everybody needs to be educated on what this BOE and facilities committee has tried to pull off. This is at best, a first pass at a design, it lays out options and cost impacts. From here a true, efficient design could be derived. That is if renovating is not the better course. Still uncertain on that as well. Assuming all of these people have no nefarious motive, what we have here after two years is a very mediocre submission. I think a teacher in a design class may award this a C grade at best. That the saddest thing about it. In a community that demands excellence from our children and teachers, we let this BOE submit this, what a poor example."

Anonymous said...

6:46: I believe this report was put together by the administration and facilities committee. It will be presented to the BOE tonight. Let's hope the BOE says no to it.