This summer’s renovation work at Blythe Park School will cost approximately $126,000 more than expected due to some unforeseen complications. 

At their Aug. 16 meeting, the Riverside Elementary School District 96 Board of Education is expected to approve the expenditure to address water seeping into the lower level former auditorium space, which is being repurposed into a multipurpose room, and to improve the soil beneath the school’s parking lots, which are being repaved. 

The projects were originally budgeted to cost the district a little more than $3.5 million.

Contractors found foul-smelling water almost 6 inches deep in the lower-level auditorium. The water had to be removed before pouring the new concrete slab for the multipurpose room. 

The architect and a civil engineer designed a drain tile and water dispersal system to alleviate the issue, according to a report presented to the school board at its Aug. 2 meeting. 

The contractor also is installing a set of sump pumps with a new sewer tie-in at street level. The unanticipated work required District 96 to get amended construction permits from both the village of Riverside and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. That portion of the change order is estimated at about $65,400.

When testing the soil beneath the school’s parking lots the contractor determined that the soil-bearing capacity was poor and did not meet required levels. The civil engineer recommended undercuts and soil dispersal to be done underneath both of the school’s parking lots. 

New stone infill is being added and a new a geogrid system, which is an interlocking geosynthetic stabilization system, is being installed. This work will cost the district roughly $60,600.

A new boiler is also being installed at Blythe Park School this summer. 

Despite the unforeseen complications, the work at Blythe Park is expected to be completed before school starts this year on Aug. 23, said Superintendent Martha Ryan-Toye.

The auditorium will be split into two spaces. One will house the school’s library and the other will be a music classroom.

Just in case the work is not completely finished before school starts, Ryan-Toye and Blythe Park Principal Casimira Gorman have working out contingency plans. 

“Hopefully it will not be needed,” Ryan-Toye said.

Even if work remains to done on the new multipurpose room, the rest of the school will be ready to welcome students on Aug. 23.