The District 208 school board on Jan. 10 unanimously voted to ask the voters of the district to approve a $58,873,861 bond referendum on the March 21 primary election ballot to pay for a scaled-down expansion and renovation of Riverside Brookfield High School.
If the referendum is approved, the owner of a home worth $300,000 would pay $238.03 a year in additional taxes, according to figures provided by the district. An owner of a home worth $250,000 would pay $198.36 a year in additional taxes while the owner of a home worth $400,000 would have to pay $317.37 a year in additional taxes, according to the district’s figures.
The board is planning an addition of 86,000 square feet. The plan presented by the board’s architect Andy Joseph of Wight Co. Tuesday was significantly different and scaled down from the two alternatives Joseph presented at a community meeting at the high school in December.
“This plan is much different than the original concept drawings,” said District 208 Superintendent/Principal Jack Baldermann. “They listened to what the community and staff said. This design is very pro-learning. There is less disruption of learning and they are bringing the cost down.”
Under the concept presented Jan. 10, the front facade on the south side of the high school would remain untouched. The new construction would take place on the northeast and northwest corners of the school property. There will be less demolition than earlier plans had called for.
A new community wellness center, downsized from the earlier plans, would be built on the current site of the existing faculty parking lot on the northeast corner of the property. The wellness center would have two basketball/volleyball courts and an elevated four-lane jogging track.
At the northwest corner of the building, the plan proposes a new entrance, while applied arts/vocational ed programs currently located there would be moved west across Golf Road to a small stand-alone building.
The plan calls for 14 new science labs and nine new general education classrooms and a new, somewhat larger swimming pool, which would replace the existing pool in the same location. The new pool would be 45 feet wide and 120 feet long and feature the regulation 25-yard length for high school swimming events. There would also be a 45-by-45-foot area for diving or water polo that could be used simultaneously while swimming events are going on.
If approved, the project would also extensively renovate, replace and upgrade the existing structure, including new mechanical, plumbing heating and air-conditioning systems.
The entire project is budgeted to cost $63.8 million. Of that amount, roughly $58.8 would come from bonds approved if the referendum passes. An additional $2 million would come from life safety bonds, and $3 million would come from interest income from investing some of the bond proceeds before the money needs to be spent.
The plan envisions a net gain of about 100 parking spaces by adding parking west of the school along Rockefeller Avenue in Brookfield and constructing a deck on the current student parking lot.
The student lot, like nearly all of the land north of the school belongs to the Cook County Forest Preserve District, and such a parking deck would also be used by the Brookfield Zoo when school is not in session.
Both the Rockefeller parking proposal and the parking deck would require approval by the Brookfield Board of Trustees and the Cook County Forest Preserve District, respectively.