Recomendation is for new high school

Published 10:33 pm Thursday, April 21, 2005

By By ERIN VER BERKMOES / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Build a new high school and early childhood center. That was the recommendation of Tower Pinkster Titus presented during a public forum held by the Niles Community Schools Wednesday evening.
The architecture firm was hired by the Niles Community Schools to do a facilities study and suggest what should be done to bring the district up to date.
The proposed project calls for the construction of a new high school. The remodeling of the current high school would be made into a middle school.
Major remodeling and additions would be done to both Howard Elementary and Northside, as well as at Ballard and Southside schools.
Oak Manor would be remodeled for community and alternative education and would house the administrative offices.
With this plan Westside, Ellis, Eastside and Cedar Lane would all be closed.
The total cost of this project would be $113,765,000. That figure would include site improvements, buying property, new construction, remodeling, technology, bond election costs, construction, design fees, contingency, and furniture, Terry Blanchard of Owen Ames Kimball Construction said.
In order to get an accurate read on the numbers, the district's financial planners were given the date of Nov. 8, 2005, as a potential for the bond to be brought before the voters.
Community members responded both favorably and unfavorably to the introduction of the project after discussing what they had been presented in small groups.
Niles High School Assistant Principal Molly Brawley said, "In order to gain the communities support for a $113 million project, it will have to be explained to them very well, and they need to be taught about what a bond issue really is. The package that has been presented to us is the right thing to do for the district."
Arndt added that the district should look at putting money adding programs, and what's on the inside of the schools, not just building a pretty thing to look at.
Blanchard added that planning and design on Ballard would begin in 2006, with the building being completed in 2008. Oak Manor would be started in 2007 and also completed in 2008. The current high school would have its remodeling started in 2008 and completed in 2010, and finally Ring Lardner would be started in 2009, with completion in 2011.
Law added that the time commitment for working with the steering committee would be from now until July, and there would likely be about four to six meetings during that time.
Anyone interested in joining the steering committee can contact Law at 683-0732 or go directly to the Westside Administration Building located at 111 Spruce St., Niles.