Cost Estimates for High Schools Additions Top Out at Nearly $80 Million
Board also hears updated report on enrollment, which could near 21,000 by 2020-21.
If Oswego District 308 School Board members opt to go with additions to the two existing high schools, they could be dealing with a price tag of up to $80 million.
According to preliminary estimates from Kluber Architects and Engineers, bringing Oswego East High School to a maximum capacity of 3,200 students will cost the district $39.4 million. ATS&R Architects presented the board with their plan in six steps for its addition at Oswego High School. Those steps range in cost from $32.6 million to $42.29 million.
Board members said they would also be studying the proposals for both schools to see where cost savings could be found. The $80 million figure includes extras such as a swimming pool for OHS and synthetic turf athletic fields at both schools.
The construction costs for building a third high school is estimated to be about $105 million.
Oswego resident Ted Clauser said he is a proponent to adding on to the current high schools rather than building a third facility.
“If you think a smaller third high school is going to be beneficial and two larger high schools will not, I think you’d better step back and think about it and double check your research,” he told the board.
Clauser cited the number of foreclosed homes he’s seen in the district.
“Have you walked through the neighborhoods lately? Never in my life have I remembered a point in time of seeing so many empty houses,” he said. “I don’t know when those houses are going to be lived in again. In several neighborhoods those are the houses that had the children your statistics for a third high school were based on.”
But Plainfield resident Cheryl Carbone said building a third high school is inevitable.
“It’s not whether or not we’re going to need it,” she said. “It’s just a matter of when.”
During the more than four-hour meeting, board members also heard a presentation from RSP & Associates, the group hired by the district to complete an updated enrollment study regarding a proposed third high school. According to board documents, district enrollment for the 2011-12 school year is 16,832, and projected at 17,317 for 2012-13, 17,730 for 2013-14 and 20,845 for by 2020-21.
Projections for the high schools alone show OHS at anywhere from 2,511 to 2,877 students by 2015-16. This figure is based on student residence information and not student attendance numbers.
Student attendance figures show a possible range of 2,276 to 2,634 for the same year. Capacity for OHS is shown at 2,400.
For OEHS, also with a 2,400 capacity shown by RSP, 2015-16 numbers show a range of 2,454 to 2,681 students based on residence information and 2,623 to 2,842 based on attendance information.
Robert Schwarz of RSP also said the area’s foreclosures are not necessarily a reliable indication of the district’s population.
“It’s easy to see some of the houses that are vacant and say, ‘Where did those kids go?’ But as you go through issues with foreclosures and short sales and other reasons for people not being in their houses, it becomes an opportunity for other people to move into those homes where it’s now more affordable,” he said.
“We know there’s going to be continued circulation of your existing inventory. It will be better absorbed because there are fewer houses being built.”
Schwarz said the relocation of Navistar’s headquarters from Indiana to the former Alcatel-Lucent East campus on Warrenville Road in Lisle may also bring more people into the district.
“They might select this community over Naperville because it’s comparable to what they had in price in Indiana,” he said.
District 308 School Board members are expected to vote on whether to go with the additions or build a third high school at the July 25 meeting.