Building Questions & Answers

****Updated January 8, 2018****

The Board has restarted the conversation of how to approach our building issues. It is expected that that Board will reach a direction in the next two or three months. As various steps in the process occur, information on this page will be added.

Questions/answers on this page are arranged in no particular order, and are largely arranged as received. Tied to the note above, some of the answers related to timelines and costs may be changing as we move forward.

 Question   Response 
1. What is the Board's timeline for making a decision and moving forward on that decision? The Board began has continued discussions regarding the state of the buildings over the last year as they have awaited the results of the 10-year HLS survey. The timeline as set in October is as follows:

November 8 - Tour of buildings with architect
November 15 - Input from community
December 6 and 13 - Board discussion regarding direction
December 20 - Board approval of cost-estimating services on Wenona building by Ameresco and Cordogan Clark
? - decision on direction

If the decision is to repair buildings:
In this scenario, the Board would begin planning for bidding and bonding for the repair immediately. Any items on the (a) list on the 10-year HLS survey would have to be completed or nearly completed by the December 2018 deadline in the survey. The (b) items might move more slowly.

If the decision is to build one or more new buildings:
In this scenario, the Board would utilize the first half of 2018 to plan for the design of the building project, and would place the referendum item on the November 2018 ballot for voter approval. 

If the decision is a combination of the two previous options:
Then both of the options as outlined above would apply, with any infrastructure remaining from the older buildings required to be repaired per the 10-year HLS survey, and the construction portion to proceed as per the new building requirements.

If the decision is something else entirely:
There may be other options which the Board considers and may potentially adopt. In that case, they will be addressed when they arise.

2. Who will pay for any repair or construction?    There is only available option for the higher dollar projects the district will be doing, whether repair or replacement.

1. The district taxpayers will be responsible for the cost of the work to be done in its totality.

It is important to note the County Facilities Sales Tax, if approved in each county in which the district resides, could be used to help offset the cost of these projects, as the CFST can only be used for building repair or construction.

3. What would the cost of a new building be? That is not known for certain at this time, as the option has not been chosen by the Board, and if so, the scope, design, and location(s) are not yet known. However, figures from two years ago give an idea as to costs for the project, with some manuervability possible in those numbers.

1. All in new building at a new location (K-12) - estimated to be in the neighborhood of $48,000,000, including all new athletic facilities and parking lots, as well as water/sewer facilities.

2. 6-12 new building at a new location - estimated to be in the neighborhood of $31,000,000, again with new athletic facilities and parking lots, as well as water/sewer facilities.

3. The cost of repairing viable space at the buildings and adding on to the MS and HS buildings was run a little over a year ago. The estimated cost of doing this construction was in the neighborhood of $17,000,000 at the MS and $24,000,000 at the HS, for a total of $41,000,000 for the two locations.

4. Any other option would require recalculation.

4. If a new building were built, would it be for all schools or just middle school and high school?

That would be a decision the Board would have to make if it is moving toward new construction. At this time, there is no answer to this question.
5. How will the taxpayers be able to afford this?The Illinois State Board of Education has directed the Fieldcrest Board of Education to affect repairs to the buildings as noted in the 10-year HLS surveys, or to do something which offsets the need to make those repairs in part or in whole. While no one wants to pay more taxes, the fact remains that the Board must act in regard to this direction by ISBE. The "how" question is one which the Board cannot answer for either individuals or communities.

6. There is an estimate that the valves at the Middle School can be currently fixed at a cost of less than $50,000. Why are we not doing this?The cost of repairing the valves at the Middle School is only one small part of the issues indicated on the 10-year HLS survey for the MS. The total estimated costs for the MS are over $10,000,000. The primary question is whether the Board will choose to repair or construct new. Until that question is settled, such small but yet not so small projects which are not immediate safety concerns will wait for the decision to be made.

7. How can the Board justify spending millions of dollars and not getting an independent second opinion on structural repairs of the current buildings?The 10-year HLS system as promulgated by the state of Illinois through ISBE is specific on the procedure. The 10-year surveys are conducted by the district architect, and are submitted to the ISBE. The ISBE then works with the architect to make adjustments, additions, and subtractions from the surveys. Once the ISBE signs off on the surveys, the Board of Education is directed or obligated to make the repairs noted. A "second opinion" would not change this structure or the requirements now made of the Board.

8. How can the Board ask for direction from the public to show which way they would like the Board to go if the Board doesn't have numbers to pursue new buildings or additions vs. cost of repairs?As noted at the November 15 Board Building Committee of the Whole meeting, the all-in cost for a K-12 facility with new athletic fields, parking lots, and water/sewer facilities would cost as indicated in question 3 above. Changes in those configurations would result in different costs.

Although these figures do not represent the exact costs to the constituents of the district, the maxiumum to be bonded MUST be part of any referendum ballot item, and to reach that number the design detail would have to be laid out clearly to the public.

9. If a referendum fails in November 2018 how do we meet the December 31 2018 deadline for repairs on the current buildings?It's a question without a good answer. We believe the ROE, the inspection and enforcement arm of ISBE, will work with us on time frames as long as anything under which "kids will get hurt" are cared for and the district is making serious strides toward caring for the issues at hand, but that will require time and consultation with the ROE as any process rolls along, including a referendum in November 2018.

10. What would the increase in annual real estate taxes be for a homeowner with a home assessed at $100,000 (EAV $33,333) if a) a new building was built; or b) if the buildings were repaired?

There are several pieces of the puzzle missing to answer that question, including the amount to be bonded, the interest rate, district EAV, TIF zones statuses, and the number of years to repay the bonds, to name a few. However, to give a rough estimate based on a 20-year payback of $29,000,000 in bonds at today's interest rates, the annual increase in property taxes on a house valued at $100,000 (EAV $33,333) is estimated at $349 by Stifel.
11. In light of the request for a second opinion from a number of members of the community regarding the 10-year HLS studies, what steps did the Board decide to take?

The Board decided to test-case the Wenona building via cost-estimating services from Ameresco and Cordogan Clark. Cost-estimating services take the current tasks from the 10-year HLS survey and re-estimate the costs for completing those tasks.