Thoughtful community members who make their living in fields like higher education / research shared the fact that they routinely construct world class facilities with cost per sq ft far below the amount sought in the failed referendum. Whatever challenges there might be with the existing site and a lengthy construction schedule that arises from a desire to have students use the existing facility while its replacement is constructed around it must be factored into how accepting the broader electorate will be toward such choices; simply put the desire to retain the tradition / convenience / grandeur of the downtown Hinsdale site cannot also come with a perception that those families attending the district's other middle school will soon clamor for "matching upgrades". Taxpayers in our communities are exceedingly sensitive to the needs of all taxing bodies and the overall miserable fiscal mismanagement of Illinois, any effort to convince voters to back a voluntary increase in the amount of taxes extracted from them has to come with extraordinary levels of evidence that expenditures will be managed prudently.That has not happened thus far!
It was frustrating to hear some community members who are either cluelessly unaware or simply refuse to acknowledge that even with the current state of the middle school in Hinsdale, their attendance area is still more desirable than any part of either the overall district or any neighboring areas -- one need only look to Elmhurst, Oak Brook, Downers Grove, or the portions of Burr Ridge outside of the district and see that home buyers in those areas are not running from those "schools of inferior design". For perhaps the sharpest contrast of how little some buyers care about school layout one need only look at the portions of Oak Brook served by Downers Grove schools, in particular there are multi-million homes being built and sold in the area that attends Belle Aire, a school that to this day lacks any sort of interior walls. The restrictions that such a layout imposes on learning are no doubt far more challenging than anything at a facility that has been extensively retrofitting multiple times, as has HMS, yet buyers still spend their money to live in Oak Brook. The "do this or your property values will suffer" argument is thus easily dismissed.
What is true is that the district does need to come together. The current HMS forces unacceptable burdens on those who use it, the continuing financial resources that it drains from the district in elevated maintenance and portable rentals is a disgraceful waste that should not be tolerated. Some folks seem to believe that stacking up numbers higher and deeper than their opponents will lead to compromise, that however is nothing but a recipe for continued inaction. True compromise must acknowledge the legitimate concerns that sent the last proposal to the rubbish heap. The results of both the scientifically conducted phone survey and the less formal online survey clearly show a desire for NEW PROPOSAL. Start over.
I was encouraged that parents from the HMS attendance area felt good about positive comments from parents in the CHMS attendance area, anyone who has been inside HMS readily acknowledges how inefficient it is. Hopefully some one with the desire to see a new school constructed can carefully benchmark how much time is wasted by students and teachers traversing the treacherous layout. Ideally that would be compared to the more compact CHMS. That sort of true cooperation is desperately needed to move the district forward.