Glencoe D.35 green lights Misner for green heating
Updated: February 12, 2013 3:52PM
GLENCOE — Central School is full speed ahead into the green, geothermal future, and Misner Auditorium is along for the ride.
School District 35’s Board approved Monday the low bid of $4.9 million to convert the school, plus $385,000 to include Misner Auditorium in the plans.
They voted unanimously after last-minute Board room pleas for Misner by representatives of the Glencoe Junior High Project, who use the 912-seat auditorium for an annual musical.
Michal Palatnik, a long-time GJHP volunteer, said she represented a group “that calls itself Friends of Misner,” and disputed administration claims that the auditorium was little-used: “It’s used every day,” for bands, assemblies and study halls, she said.
“It’s a unique asset, with a full-size stage and a full-size ‘fly’ area” above, she said. “My concern is that it must be included in the heating and cooling plan ... or you might fall behind in its repairs.”
New Trier High School senior Janak Jha, the son of GJHP co-president Debbie Jha, said stage crew work at Misner has led to a career doing similar duties at the Winnetka High School as well as stints at several Chicago theaters. He said that Misner is not only an asset to Glencoe’s youth, but to the community at large, and some of the money invested in it could be offset by rentals by professional theater companies.
Misner was once home to community theater, but not since 2008.
Board member Keith Stauber, acknowledging “the community support,” said he considered the auditorium an asset, and asked architect Colin Marshall if it made a difference economically to include Misner now, as opposed to some time in the future.
Marshall said for economy, there was no time like the present.
Board Member Marc Glucksman asked him if retrofitting the 1928 auditorium would interfere with any later repairs. Marshall said he doubted it.
The estimates for the project have fluctuated over the last few months, with the latest being about $4.6 million in January. Marshall, who had said the bids would more likely be less than estimates, said that the jump seemed to be due to more demand for extensive pipe work. He mentioned big piping jobs underway at U.S. Naval Station Great Lakes and at northwest Indiana oil refineries.
About $375,000 of the total project cost is expected to be offset by government clean-air grants. But there are additional costs to the project, including a total of about $327,000 for asbestos abatement, about $45,000 higher with Misner in the project.
The district also needs about 10 percent of the total project cost for contingency expense (unforeseen costs).
So at the same time School Board members approved the bids of Mount Prospect’s Nicholas and Associates, they agreed to move $1 million from reserves to add to the $400,000 in a bond-refinancing account.
Business manager Jason Edelheit said even with the transfer, the district could operate on the reserves at hand for 10 months with no income. With income coming in, he said the district will never get below a five-month supply, over the course of a year.
Nicholas reportedly promised to drill all of the 500-foot-deep holes necessary for the system in one season for the same price as over two years, so drilling is expected to start after school ends in the spring. The total project inside the building will take two years, but two-thirds of the building at 620 Greenwood Ave. is expected to be converted to geothermal for back-to-school in fall, 2013.