District 53 hires architect for master facility plan
Updated: July 15, 2012 2:46PM
After several years of discussions about combining its two schools into a single K-8 building, the Butler District 53 board and administration have started planning for their facilities’ future.
The board approved a $28,000 contract Monday with FGM Architects to develop a master facility plan for the district.
“We have two aging buildings,” Superintendent Sandra Martin said, adding that Butler Junior High is more than 50 years old, and Brook Forest School is more than 40 years old. “We have spent a little over $4 million over the last seven years renovating our schools.”
Martin said school districts are required by law to complete life safety surveys every 10 years. District 53’s next such survey is due by 2015, Martin said. The life safety surveys were set up to establish minimum standards for public school facilities to protect the health, safety and general welfare of pupils, school personnel, and others who use them.
“We want to be proactive and find out what we’re dealing with before we make any big decisions for the future,” Martin said. “We plan to seek considerable community input on any plans, but we want to be equipped to answer questions. And having this master facility plan completed, which will provide a number of options, will help us to answer those questions.”
Martin said a consolidation of the district’s two schools into a single campus on the site of Butler Junior High, 2801 York Road, is being considered. However, district officials asked FGM not to consider the site of Brook Forest, 60 Regent Drive, as a single location in the master facility plan.
“We pretty much know that at this point that would not be a desirable school to add onto, so why study it?” Board President Alan Hanzlik said.
Martin said there are several benefits to using one school building for the district’s approximately 430 students. Of that 430, about 150 attend Butler Junior High; the remaining 280 attend Brook Forest.
“Having one building allows you to consolidate some services and may open up more opportunities,” Martin said.
School administrators were scheduled to meet June 14 with representatives from FGM to discuss district needs and wants as part of the master facility plan process. Martin said she expects FGM to present some options as early as October.
“There is no way to know exactly what all of your needs are going to be for the next 20 years, so we would want some flexibility,” Martin said. “Energy efficiency is another consideration.
“We want to develop a comprehensive plan that the community can support.”