The Blythe Park School roof won’t be replaced this summer after all. After hiring a new architect, the Riverside Elementary School District 96 school board has decided to put off replacing the school’s roof for one more year.

After architect Carrie Matlock of the firm DLA architects looked at the roof she decided that there were some complicated factors, mostly dealing with the trough of the roof by the windows, that warranted further study to come up with the best plan to replace the roof. The additional study is causing a delay that is making it difficult to get the best pricing for work to be done this summer so the board decided to wait another year to replace the roof.

“We have a reasonable degree of confidence that there will be no leaking of the roof while we study the best solution,” said David Sellers, the interim finance and operations director for District 96. “The roof is not without some risk, but there are no red flags. Nothing that said it was urgent to replace the roof.” 

If the roof leaks in the next 18 months short term patching will be done.

Bids for work to be done next summer should be received by February to get the best pricing, Sellers said.

“We don’t see us meeting that timeline without it being on a rush basis,” Sellers said.

Board members decided they would rather wait until next year and go out to bid next fall to get the best price.

“I think it’s reasonable to defer the roofing project,” said Rich Regan, the chairman of the board’s finance committee.

School board president Jeff Miller agreed.

“There are a lot of things to think about,” Miller said.

About 90 percent of the roof needs to be replaced Sellers said. In December the cost of the roof replacement was estimated to be between $600,000 and $800,000 after a lower estimate this fall. Now with a new plan being developed the cost of the roof replacement is unclear.

“The cost of the roof is pretty uncertain,” Sellers said. “It will depend on what the design is.”

DLA, which has replaced Legat Architects as the district’s architectural firm, will also undertake a facilities advisory review process to review the district’s facilities needs.

Some upgrades are still being planned for this summer. Some the higher cost items include upgrading the lighting and sound system in the Hauser auditorium at an estimated cost of between $50,000 and $70,000. The district plans to spend $40,000 to $50,000 to add additional battery power at the distribution network for its network computer servers at the district office that will allow the district’s wireless computer network to remain active for a couple of hours during a power outage. Tuckpointing will be done at Central School at an estimated cost of $20,000. 

In other news, the district received a $1,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Schoolyard Habitant Action Grant Program to purchase new native plants to revive the prairie garden at Blythe Park School. Groundbreaking for the garden is scheduled for April. The garden will be used as a Living Classroom.

Blythe Park third grade teacher Helen Hart-Bryan told the school board last week that she and first grade teacher Judy Sayre will work with Riverside resident Tom Lupfer, the owner of Lupfer Landscaping, to choose and purchase the plants. They are also hoping to purchase and plant two new trees and are looking for people to sponsor the trees.