Construction manager search continues

Holly Richrath

Although Morton District 709 officials have yet to decide if a construction manager will be hired to oversee the district’s $12.5 million renovation plan for three of its elementary schools, firms interested in the position have completed the interview process.

Superintendent Roger Kilpatrick said information was submitted by local firms. Five of those firms, all of which Kilpatrick said “had some good local connections,” were selected to be interviewed.

After a similar process to select an architectural firm for the project, a joint effort by Morton-based Keach Architectural Design and PSA-Dewberry of Peoria was selected by district officials. Their contract is in negotiation.

Kilpatrick called the construction manager interview process a “good learning process.”

“We’re not, at this point, aware we’re going to make a recommendation on hiring a construction manager,” he said. “It did provide us with a lot more information.”

Kilpatrick said he will provide the board with his recommendation at its Nov. 16 meeting.

In other business, the board:

• approved the 2011-12 tentative budget and 2010 tentative property tax levy.

Kilpatrick said the district expects to receive $30.7 million in revenue and spend about $30.6 million.

“Our health care costs have increased substantially,” he said. “From everything we understand, health care costs are going to continue to increase substantially because of the national health care program. That is one of the big unknowns in our budget.”

The proposed levy will be brought back to the board for final approval Dec. 7.

• approved an application to renew a waiver of elementary physical education. The waiver removes the requirement for daily physical education, replacing it with a requirement of physical education at least twice a week.

This is the second two-year waiver the district has applied for. A district is allowed three two-year waivers.