Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School is working on a facilities plan with BLDD Architects, which aims to improve the educational environment in a financially responsible way.
BLDD gave an update on the process during the BBCHS Board of Education meeting Monday.
“This study is solely focused on the facility. It’s not about how we will build it or how we will fund it,” BBCHS superintendent Scott Wakeley said. “We are just looking at the facility and identifying needs.
“We want to renovate and reconfigure our space for as little financially as possible so the building is sustainable into the future. BLDD will give us suggestions on how to do that. If the solution is one where we can self-fund it, so be it. If the solution is one where we can get a state school construction grant, so be it.
“The community wants BBCHS to be on this site. One of the board’s goals is to get 100 percent of our kids under one roof.”
Currently, BBCHS utilizes 12 mobile classrooms.
“What will it look like if we reconfigure space?” Wakeley asked. “It’s important for the community to know, we are not looking to build for build’s sake. We want the best possible plan to educate our kids. We need a solution that fits our community. Taxes are real, and we have to be smart.”
“Planning is the most important thing for all districts. We hope to do a significant project and get funding from the state. But you need a plan in place,” said Todd Cyrulik, BLDD principal and lead education designer. “Our goal is to deliver education in a modern world.”
Damien Schlitt, BLDD project manager of education design, said the district’s buildings are in “relatively good shape, but that major needs include HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems and finishes in some portions of the campus.”
In an assessment done to determine educational adequacy, BBCHS scored a 54.9, or between inadequate and poor. The district scored high in building safety and security, but low in how spaces serve students and teachers and in educational environment.
“How does the building support education? You need to rethink the way the building is configured,” Schlitt said.
BLDD also scored the district’s building utilization, and Schlitt commented that, “You have a high utilization of spaces. Your classrooms are being heavily used.”
“At any given time, there are 1,600 to 1,700 students in seats receiving instruction,” Cyrulik said.
Classroom observations included a lack of size variation, tight circulation, campus layout making it difficult to get from class to class, inflexible classroom furniture and technology not fully integrated into room designs.
In September, a community engagement meeting will be held to introduce the community to the process and to discuss the district’s needs. A task force will be created to review input from that meeting and revise concepts based on community feedback.
Another community engagement session will be held in October to present revisions to the plan. By November, the task force will present its full report to the school board. BLDD will present its recommendation to the full board in December.
“Based on BLDD’s recommendations, we will more forward,” Wakeley said. “We hope with the new state budget and capital development funding, we will be able to have funding assistance.”
If funding assistance is not available, BBCHS could seek a bond referendum in the spring or fall of 2020.
“We have to decide what we want, then it comes down to what we can afford,” Wakeley said.
Currently, the campus includes 96 classrooms and 12 mobile classrooms, three gymnasiums, an Olympic-sized pool, weight room and fitness center, 600-seat theater, library and community center.