ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- It’s been three months since Rockford voters approved a bond referendum to upgrade all Rockford public schools. Tonight we got an update at the Operations Committee meeting, on where the project stands.
Administrators have been meeting with staff members at nine of the schools that will be repaired first, tweaking designs to fit their needs.
At Auburn High School, there are five different options that include more classrooms and a new field house. At East High School, the district is looking at different sizes for the new track and field house.
The front office areas in all schools will be re-designed with security in mind, so visitors are forced to go to the main office first.
"I'm excited for it.... I'm keenly interested in keeping our teachers and our students safe, sooner rather than later," said Operations Committee member Laura Powers.
Froberg elementary is the farthest along, administrators just finalized the design today. They want to turn the current gym into a cafeteria and add a new gym to the back of the building.
Froberg, McIntosh, Conklin, Spring Creek, Johnson, and Lathrop elementary schools will be worked on first. Some of the buildings have the same design so the district says it makes sense to work on them at the same time. East High School, Guilford High School and Auburn High School are the three high schools that will be upgraded first; all of these buildings will have additions.
Construction on Froberg, McIntosh and Spring Creek elementary schools could begin as early as June.
Also tonight, the Operations Committee approved the recommendation to pay Hagney Architects $15 million more in addition to the $40 million the company is getting to design additions. The extra money is take on other projects like electrical and HVAC work, that could have gone out to bid. The district says it makes more sense to have one firm work on the same buildings.
However some committee members are concerned the process may not be as competitive, since several other local architectural firms, including Richard L. Johnson Associates, Inc. and Larson & Darby Group, already submitted proposals. But the district says it will put other work out for bid in the future.