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District 115 Begins Architect Selection Process For YHS Expansion

Yorkville District 115 officials are developing questions to ask architectural firms applying for the high school expansion project.

Yorkville officials hope results from a questionnaire which will be given to prospective architectural firms will help them determine the best one for the expansion and remodeling project.

During during Monday's Organizational Oversight Committee meeting at the high school, members reviewed the questionnaire.

District 115 Superintendent Scott Wakeley said school officials would like to use a local firm.

“We don’t want someone from Colorado saying, ‘We want to be your architect,’ and then when we need somebody a year from now they’re nowhere to be found,” Wakeley said.

Brian Debolt, the district’s director of building and grounds, said officials also want to work with a firm that has specifically done additions on schools.

“We could have 2,000 people in here on any given day and have construction going on,” he said.

It likely will be important to maintain a good educational environment throughout construction.

“Schools are different animals, especially when you’re dealing with teachers trying to teach and students,” Wakeley said.

Officials have been discussing overcrowding for months, instituting a one-way policy in some stairways at the high school last academic year.

About 1,130 students (sophomores through seniors) last academic year attended the high school, which is designed to hold 1,200. Across the street, 398 freshmen attended, which has an estimated capacity of 450.

Officials hope the questionnaire will help them narrow down the applicants for architects.

“We’re looking at how we can we take this information and condense it down into 10 firms that we can say, ‘OK, you’re the ones we’ve selected’ out of the 50 or whatever we get back,” Wakeley said.

Scratch on Patch November 17, 2011 at 01:50 PM
Free architect for hire - Use Raintree as YHS South! Save us all some money. The United City is not growing...STOP building!
Kibitzer November 17, 2011 at 04:04 PM
"Scratch on Patch", you are so right, but I've come to see that there is not one person, elected to any office in this country, who does not see that they have the right to spend other people's money however they see fit. They are like programmed robots. They do not answer to ordinary taxpayers, who try to use commonsense in their expenditures. They can shut down their intellect at any moment, and just drift through their jobs, (or positions), completely unmoved by the realities of our lives as we all have to ponder the struggles facing us each day. Getting any of these people to change their positions on spending tax money, is HOPELESS!
Scott Wakeley November 17, 2011 at 05:50 PM
Scratch on Patch & Kibitzer. My name is Dr. Scott Wakeley, Superintendent of Schools in Yorkville. While we are only at the beginning stage of this process, I would be happy to meet with you to hear about suggestions you have regarding our facility use, as well as share our information for making these decisions. I can be reached at swakeley@y115.org.
Scratch on Patch November 17, 2011 at 06:03 PM
Thank you for making yourself available.
Dock Ellis November 17, 2011 at 08:08 PM
You may not get much value out of education, Mark, but I think most of us do. Tax bills and education may just be a dollars-and-cents issue for you, but it means more than that to most folks. Name one expense that has gone down in the past 10 years in your household, Mark. Just one. Go ahead. Actually, I'll do your homework for you - none of them have. Same with the school district - costs for everything go up. And that's why you pay more taxes. It isn't difficult to understand. Less people are around to "share the pie" as it were, so our bills have gotten higher. But the need is still there, the services still need to be rendered. Education needs to be reformed, no doubt about it, but it's still gonna cost money. If the cheap-o's in Yorkville had agreed to build the high school big enough in 1998 (when everyone was saying stuff like "Yorkville isn't growing! We don't need a big school!") then we wouldn't be in the mess we're in today, paying much more for an addition we probably wouldn't have needed.
Kibitzer November 17, 2011 at 08:52 PM
First of all, I wish the seniors in Yorkville would vote down the expansionist dreams that we are constantly being subjected to. But, I'm afraid, many of them have grandchildren in the school system and many probably vote to make things just better, and better for the sweet little darlings. And Dock Ellis, are we who conscientiously try to live within our means, really considered "cheapos" in your (sounds a little elitist), estimation? Wow! I really admire the true fiscal conservatives who also try to help out those of us who don't need bigger and better, as opposed to those who think there is nothing but green grass all over the place. Perhaps you have tons of cash to throw at every situation? Some of us would gladly move away from this (in the tank), town if we could only find any buyer for our homes that have huge taxes attached to them! And, Dr. Wakeley, I would contact you, but I've dealt with school personnel, and school officials, in past years and they can out-sell many a used car salesman! Not to me, but to many of the less discerning.
Scratch on Patch November 17, 2011 at 09:16 PM
Lets all stay on track. I have not seen the numbers...school capacities...student inflow...etc. However, I strongly believe that Yorkville has enough school locations to fit the student population as it exists. I don't see any population increases over the next 10 years that would constitute additional building. Yorkville definitely needs to plan for the future, but the time is for planning, not building. I attended the old high school with a population of about 600 students. 450 capacity seems a little light.
Todd Milliron November 17, 2011 at 11:05 PM
I believe the reason for looking at the additional space question is that each graduating classes' size (number of Students) continues to increase. We have more first graders in class now than we will have seniors that will graduate in 2012 and as these younger kids get older, certain schools where the consolidation of grade school students takes place from the numerous grade school in to YMS, Yorkville Freshman Academy then on to YHS may need/require more building space at the higher grade levels. http://yorkville.patch.com/articles/high-school-overflowing-with-students http://www.yorkville.k12.il.us/strategic-planning The good news is our school district is one of only a handful that has firm and exceptional financial strength. I can remember the old days when each year CUSD #115 had to issue Tax Anticipation Warrants (Short Term Bonds) to address cash flow shortages for payroll in the spring of every year. http://yorkville.patch.com/articles/brief-d115-finances-rank-high The City of Yorkville’s local government leaders are responsible for growth policies that drive CUSD #115 to react to the numbers generated.
Scratch on Patch November 18, 2011 at 02:28 AM
I've seen posted numbers in the paper before. I would like to see some current numbers from this school year and capacity numbers for all the schools.\ Lets not forget about traffic issues at the current high school. Add on to the school and add more vehicles to the mix. I would also like to see more high school students assist the grade schoolchildren. I was a teachers aid in junior high and I still remember how rewarding it was to help. Todd, you stated "The good news is our school district is one of only a handful that has firm and exceptional financial strength." However, the link you posted states that "Yorkville was one of 604 districts to earn Financial Recognition." Hardly a handful...seems more like low standards. My opinion: Only 10-20% should earn this recognition or the bar is set too low. Around 75% met the criteria to gain Financial Recognition. Maybe they need more tiers to help districts standout and challenge themselves/each other.
BH November 18, 2011 at 01:05 PM
Excellent debate, I want to hear more from both sides.
Todd Milliron November 18, 2011 at 05:20 PM
Scratch, You are correct it appears there are more than a hand full. It appears the CUSD #115 Score is 3.8 on a 4.0 scale. SEE = http://www.isbe.state.il.us/sfms/p/designation.pdf (CUSD #115 is on Page 22 0f 60) Here is some additional info on how CUSD #115 grades out for prepping our kids for the real world or the next level of Higher Education. You can also do some comparisons with in Kendall County at this link. Click and go http://schools.chicagotribune.com/school/yorkville-high-school_yorkville
Scratch on Patch November 19, 2011 at 04:00 AM
It seems as though Illinois needs to set higher standards. Roughly 130 districts had a perfect 4.0. Hopefully the public hears more about expansion ideas before an money is spent. I may be in the minority, but I think it is time to take a step back and have some public discussion. These are publicly funded schools. We deserve and should demand appropriate use of our funds. Yorkville is doing well. However, there is room for improvement.

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