When driving by any of the four schools (Bremen, Tinley Park, Hillcrest or Oak Forest) in Bremen High School District 228, you will soon be seeing signs of construction. The District is about to begin Phase 1 of its Quality School Construction Bond (QSCB) projects.
Phase 1 consists of the installation of artificial turf fields at all four schools. This project will take place from now until the beginning of the 2017-18 school year. The first step will be mobilization and site preparation at each school, the second step will be excavation, grading and site utilities, and the third step will be the installation of concrete curbs, light pole bases, goal post footings, and the artificial turf fields. Also, the installation of new tennis courts will take place as well as permanent fencing, athletic equipment, field lighting posts and fixtures. Lastly, temporary fencing will be removed and repairs will be made to landscaping.
The installation of the artificial turf fields will allow physical education classes, marching bands, soccer and football teams the ability to use the field as much as possible. “This is an exciting time in our district and we are eager to get this project started. The QSCB grant will provide improvements to our facilities that will home buyers, and reducing property taxes for our current taxpayers.” said D228 Superintendent Bill Kendall.
Other projects at all four schools in the long-range plan include the installation of field houses, fitness centers and training rooms, classrooms, storage, remodeling of cafeterias and kitchens, as well as adding digital signage.
Projects at specific schools by need include new roofs for Bremen and Hillcrest High Schools; new light poles at the Tinley Park, Hillcrest and Oak Forest High School stadiums; a new parking lot at Tinley Park High School; a new gym floor at Oak Forest High School; band room expansions at Bremen and Tinley Park High Schools; and an expanded cafeteria at Bremen High Schools.
Last fall, thanks to a federally funded capital improvement program, District 228 applied for and received a $50 million Qualified School Construction Bond. D228 was one of only 29 districts out of 193 applicants in the State of Illinois to qualify for the bond. Even more exciting, it was one of only three districts in Cook County to receive the maximum amount of $50 million.
The QSCB grant allowed the D228 Board of Education to issue low- to zero-interest bonds, which will go towards the seven-year capital improvement plan. The projected budget for the plan is $74 million, including the $50 million received from QSCB. A significant component of the plan is that the District will receive in excess of $35.6 million in federal funds over the next 20 years. These funds will be used to pay for capital improvements and to strengthen the District’s financial condition.
Also, the annual burden to taxpayers for the District 228 portion of their tax bill is projected to decrease by approximately $5 million. This means taxes for a home valued at $100,000 are estimated to decrease by $115, for a home valued at $150,000 the decrease would be $170, and for a home valued at $200,000 the decrease would be $230.