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January 16, 2018

12/27/2017 1:03:00 PM
Capital Improvement Program Approved But Remains Underfunded
By Kelley Elwood

The District 202 School Board approved funding in the amount of $4.7 million for capital improvements in the 2017-18 school year (FY’ 2018) and adopted a five-year Capital Improvements Plan (CIP)for FY’17 through FY’18, with an estimated cost of $26.4 million. 

Infrastructure issues for Evanston Township High School’s 1.2 million square feet of building space and 60 acres of campus, and improvements to Entrance No. 3 in the Athletic Wing, make up the bulk of this year’s spending plan.

“The five-year plan outlines over $26.4 million in needed capital improvements. While not all of these needs can be funded at the current time it is important to at least identify the needs and potential capital issues the District may have to address,” Mary Rodino, Chief Financial Officer, told the Board as she detailed the CIP plan at the Nov. 11 Board meeting.

Major Improvements in FY’17

Ms. Rodino described the capital improvements made last year, in FY’17. She said repairs and improvements were made to the Field House windows and roof, the Upstairs Theatre, the Ceramics Labs, and Fine Arts acoustic panels.  Additional signage was also added.

The FY’18 Plan

Infrastructure will again be addressed this year with work budgeted for resurfacing parking lot No. 9, providing exterior signage, upgrading interior LED lighting, door replacement, replacing electrical switches,  replacing pool filtering equipment, and roof, masonry and window repairs.  The HVAC system in the auditorium will also be replaced.

Entrance 3 on Northwest side near the athletic facilities will be renovated, and an elevator replaced in the North/East gym. A secure, semi-enclosed walkway will be added, and a second floor single use washroom will be installed. Improvements will be made to the special education facility and the Chem/Phys Lab.

Future Needs

Next in line are locker room renovations for physical education, improvements to the outdoor athletic facilities, including the track and football turf, toilet upgrades, additional upgrades to interior LED lighting, door replacements, and roof, masonry and window repairs.

The plan also calls for renovations to the science labs and the fine arts wing, and replacement of information technology switches.

Financing Plan

In the spring, pending Board approval, the District will issue $4 million in bonds to finance the work in FY’18. Foundation contributions will continue to fund projects, as will grants and the fund balance. 

Not all the projects on the five-year plan can be funded as there are $26.4 million in needs and only approximately $19.8 million in identified sources of funds, says the report. The District is “undercapitalized” said Ms. Rodino.  Depreciation is at $2.9 million annually so the District should be spending about $4 million on capital annually, she said, but its capacity to issue bonds to finance the projects is between $2 million and $3 million annually. This is historically due to when tax caps were instituted in 1990’s said the report.

The entire report can be found online at

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