The purpose of the FC meeting yesterday was to begin discussing next steps as relate to Hinsdale Middle School, now that the Referendum to build a $65 million school has failed.
As always, SOUND OFF!
COMMENT OF THE DAY:
It is clear that there are differences of opinion around the perceptions surrounding the current concept for HMS / potential "lightning rod" features. Some facilities committee members very strongly believe that sticking with the current architect could doom any future attempts at winning broad support. Similarly, there are strong opinions about what truly might motivate folks to support a replacement for HMS.
There seems to be a lack of understanding of what steps might satisfy community members concerned with things like mold and general indoor air quality -- the leaks that have been publicized directly over the 3rd floor gym are unlike the longer term hidden leaks and improper maintenance that were uncovered during clean-up of the catastrophic water intrusion caused by frozen fire sprinklers; these present leaks are largely from the failing flat roof and since they are quickly addressed are unlikely to contribute to the growth of mold. Even mold that was uncovered while extensive interior refurbishment was undertaken was largely not of the airborne varieties, but was sent to testing labs after surface swab tests to determine the best remediation efforts. HMS' staff has noted no soaked ceiling tiles and the efforts to have non-absorbent baseboards and made water wicking up walls far less likely. That said, the district staff will undertake scheduling air quality testing both while the building is vacant over spring break as well as scheduling additional tests in a variety of classrooms while they fully occupied. Results of these tests will be published on the district web site. Concerns about any possible issues related to water quality were deemed largely to result from hypersensitivity related to media coverage of events in Michigan.
The consensus was generally toward getting solutions ASAP to ensure all students and staff have the safest environment possible for the minimum of three years that the existing schools will be in use, and hopefully this will restore confidence in the district's efforts at responding to such concerns.
There was similar consensus that the initial estimates and subsequent increases in total "all in" cost were a factor in the defeat of the proposal. How best to communicate that efforts were undertaken to ensure that cost per square foot of the project is inline with similar efforts, on what is essentially a complex semi-urban site vs the more common "green field" sites selected for middle schools, was also discussed.
Additional analysis of voting trends will be made when precinct level details are available. The assistance of survey firms may also be called upon.
The district staff was generally aware of how challenging the timing might be for a November ballot question, as well as problems with timing a question that either interferes with ballot questions from other districts or potential School Board elections.