Firm Could "Double-Check" RPS' Facilities Plan

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – There could be some changes in store for District 205’s master facilities plan. Now, RPS wants to bring in an outside company to double-check the decision.

Construction is well underway at Rockford Public Schools. The work is part of the district’s 10-year facilities plan to improve all school buildings, but that plan could change.

The operations committee approved a measure to hire DLR Group to look over the district’s design.

”This is really a community engagement process, it’s a time to pause and really ask everybody are we heading in the right direction,” said Superintendent Dr. Ehren Jarrett.

The firm could recommend new schools, a controversial topic when it was discussed amongst the board last year.

“My concern always was and always will be, that if we talk about new construction, we find a way to do that in a way that doesn’t leave behind any of the children in the district,” said School Board Member Tim Rollins.

Rollins says he wants to ensure all 48 schools get the necessary improvements first.

DLR would take up to 9 months to assess the district’s facilities plan. IN the meantime, construction will continue at certain school buildings.
Superintendent Dr. Ehren Jarret says the district is confident about the current projects but says there’s a lot of time to analyze future work.

Rollins says a lot of board members had questions, so they’ll be meeting with the group to get some clarification and the full school board still has to vote on hiring DLR. The process would also involve more community and parent input about what the schools should look like.

If approve,d DLR services would cost the district more than $143,000. Dr. Jarret says that money would come from funds under the facilities plan.

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