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Argo eyes new performing arts center

Argo High School plans to transfer more than $7 million into its capital projects fund to help pay for a new performing arts center and renovations to the Summit high school’s auditorium.

The District 217 Board of Education held a public hearing last week to discuss the fiscal year 2015-2016 budget and funds transfer.

The district would first transfer about $2.5 million from the working cash fund to the operations and maintenance fund before moving the money into the capital projects funds.

Supt. Kevin O’Mara said the capital funds would be used to renovate the auditorium and add a performing arts center. There would also be a bond sale to help pay for the improvements.{{more}}

ÒBonds will be issued for expenditures,” said O’Mara. ÒWe are working with the architects.”

Neither proposal has yet gone out for bid.

Summit resident Ted Bojanowski asked if a referendum was necessary to approve the sale of the bonds.

O’Mara said it was not.

Bojanowski said, ÒIt’s an additional burden to the tax payers. You need to be transparent.”

O’Mara replied, ÒAll along planning has been taking place.”

He said the budget and upgrades have been openly discussed at previous board meetings.

ÒTen million dollars is not chump change,” said Bojanowski.

The budget was approved. Board member Nick Caprio voted “no” on both money transfers.

Bojanowski said he couldn’t believe $10 million could be so quickly put into the budget with no discussion. He called the action Òamazing” and said it was a Òrubber stamp board.”

ÒIt doesn’t pay for the public to be here,” he stated.

School board Secretary Dr. Dan Kozal said, ÒHad you attended (previous board meetings), you would understand.”

Bojanowski said, ÒThe public shouldn’t have to dig. The information needs to get out.”

The board ratified the collective bargaining agreement between Argo Community High School Council of West Suburban Teachers Union Local 571 American Federation of Teachers, and the collective bargaining agreement between Support Staff Council Local 571 through June of 2020.

Daniel Rubel gave a presentation showing the summer renovation projects.

Upgrades included the air handler changed to more energy efficient pumps and work on the chiller and rooftop cooling tower in G building.

ÒThey were past their expected life,” said Rubel. ÒThey don’t make the seals or parts anymore.”

In A building, tuck pointing was completed and lintels replaced, automatic shades were installed on the north windows, windows were replaced and work was done on the ceiling, floors and walls.

The field house exterior was patched.

Painting was done campuswide, including hallways, lockers and classrooms.

Room 123, which hosts special needs students, was painted with Òtherapeutic colors.”

ÒWe try to keep a safe environment for students, faculty and friends,” said Rubel.

O’Mara said the workers did a Òfantastic” job.

ÒThe building and campus look great,” he said.

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