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It’s official!

Published: Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 3:29 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 3:30 p.m. CDT

SPRING VALLEY — After 16 years, five superintendents, four governors and too many meetings to count, Spring Valley Elementary has moved a major step closer toward getting its new building.

On Wednesday, board members met with district architect Bill VanDusen of Allied Design of Springfield and others to approve the construction documents on the new addition and authorize their release to contractors.

School officials first began discussing expanding the Kennedy school building in 1997. The expansion would allow the district to close Lincoln School, which is 75 years old, and have all the students at one location.

In July 2009, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a capital bill, and board members had hopes of $8 to $10 million flowing to Spring Valley. But despite being near the top of the list, having a shovel-ready project, and $5.1 million in bonds already issued, the funding never came.

In February 2012, the long-awaited announcement finally came from the state to receive $12.23 million to double the size of the current Kennedy facility.

On Wednesday, after a year of additional meetings, board members gave their final approval to the construction documents and started the bidding process.

Preparing the bid packets will be a big process. VanDusen said there are 178 sheets of drawings and 671 pages of specifications for each packet, which will cost about $250 per set to print. Packets will be available Feb. 18, and VanDusen said the bids will be advertised locally, regionally and in northern Illinois.

VanDusen said contractors will be able to bid for either portions of the project or the entire project. A contractors’ pre-bid meeting will be held at the school at 4 p.m. March 7.

“We expect to have a good number of contractors interested in bidding on this project,” he said. “There should be a good number from each of the various trades.”

The bids will be opened at 4 p.m. March 20. That is the board’s regular meeting date, and VanDusen said he should be able to give the board some ideas about the bids by the meeting time.

“We’ll have a good feel for where the dollars have come in,” he said.

After that, the bids will be reviewed, and a special board meeting will be held March 27 to accept the winning bids and award the contracts.

VanDusen said the base bids to come in around $14.5 million. The district received a grant of $12,237,983 from the state, which is expected to fund 75 percent of the entire project. The board issued $5.1 million in funding bonds in May 2009 to pay for its portion of the project.

The project also includes five alternate bids, covering extra shelving in the classrooms, a clerestory roof, a north parking lot, a drive on the east side and improvements to the stage area. The alternate bids are not listed in any order of priority, and the board can choose or reject any bids it receives.

After the board took action on the drawings and releasing the bids, VanDusen showed the board members the brick chosen for the front of the new addition. The brick, which will be on the front of the building and wrap around the sides, was matched as closely as possible to the bricks on the existing building.

VanDusen said the new bricks would be “relatively indistinguishable from a distance.”

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