Last week the Riverside Brookfield High School District 208 school board approved a guaranteed maximum price contract of a little more than $9.4 million for its extensive construction project planned for this summer. 

The board accepted bids and entered into a contract with its construction manager for a price not to exceed totaling $9,460,422. Anything over that price will be paid by Nicolas & Associates, the project’s construction manager, which gives the construction manager a strong incentive to deliver the project at or below the budgeted cost.

The net cost to the district is expected to a bit lower than the approved amount after deducting the $140,000 the district is getting for selling the naming rights for the athletic complex. In addition, the district will use a state grant to offset the cost of the partial roof replacement at the high school.  

The project will include a new stadium. A locker room and storage building will be constructed underneath the new bleachers. The plan also includes a new synthetic turf field, a new track, new tennis courts, a controversial new parking lot and replacing about 10 percent of the roof on Riverside-Brookfield High School. The partial roof replacement will cost about $515,000, which will be partially offset by the $50,000 state grant.

Garry Gryczan cast the only vote against the contract and accepting the bids. Gryczan was upset that the price of the project has increased beyond initial preliminary projections. He grilled the district’s architect about costs during the April 14 school board meeting and expressed his unhappiness over the escalating cost of the project.

Gryczan did not return two phone calls from the Landmark asking him to comment on his vote.

Portions of the project, including the parking lot and tennis courts, must still be approved by the Brookfield Village Board, which is expected to vote on a zoning variance and special use permit at its April 27 meeting. 

Superintendent Kevin Skinkis was pleased by the school board’s vote.

“It was an extensive process,” Skinkis said. “The administration and the facilities committee along with the board of education worked very hard to make sure that we’re building a fiscally responsible project that will last the district for at least 30 years.”

The cost of the project will exceed the $8.9 million state capital development grant the district received from the state of Illinois last year more than 10 years after applying for it. 

Initial projections for the project were in the $6.5 to $7 million range, but costs grew for a variety of reasons. The village of Brookfield demanded much more extensive, and expensive, storm-water detention, and the decision to build a locker room building underneath the bleachers, instead of next to the bleachers, also increased costs. That decision was made to avoid having to ask the village of Brookfield for zoning relief for the new locker room building.

And as planning moved further along, new costs popped up. For example an electrical engineer recommended replacing the lights and light poles at the stadium, which added about $400,000.

By a 4 to 3 vote, the school board opted for a more expensive track surface. Board members voted to install a so-called “sandwich” track that costs $117,000 more than the “coaster” type track that the board was also considering. 

Both surfaces are made of polyurethane and are an upgrade over the current RBHS latex track. The sandwich-style track features an impermeable layer between the two materials layers that make up the track. The sandwich-style track will cost $311,000 compared to $194,000 for the coaster-type track.

Voting for the more expensive track were John Keen, Laura Hruska, Ed Jepson and Tim Walsh. Voting for the cheaper track were Gryczan, Mike Welch and school board President Matt Sinde.

Walsh and Keen, a former track and cross-country runner at RB whose children have also run at the school, make up the school board’s facilities committee. Keen was strong advocate of the more expensive track, which has three main benefits. It gives better performance (higher energy return), is easier on runners’ legs and bodies and lasts longer. 

The sandwich track has a life expectancy of about 30 to 32 years while the coaster track has a life expectancy of about 25 years. A coaster track should be resurfaced after about eight to 10 years while a sandwich track can go up to 15 years without being resurfaced.

How the sandwich style track would hold up to flooding was a concern expressed by the manufacturer, but Keen and other board members were reassured when they found out that a sandwich style track installed a few years ago at Valparaiso University held up well after being flooded.

3 replies on “Price tag at RBHS: $9.4 million”