After years of cost containment, program cuts, and a growing backlog of deferred maintenance needs, Community Consolidated School District 62 community passed an operating rate increase in 2005. After a few years of re-establishing financial stability, the District was able to redirect its efforts on restoring educational programs, addressing student learning gaps, and positioning the capital infrastructure of its buildings for long-term sustainability.

In 2007, District 62 engaged Wight & Company to embark upon a modern-day renaissance of the entire District serving over 5,000 students across 11 schools. The facility improvement program was designed to support curriculum modernization to benefit all students equally and included the development of a centralized early childhood center to serve the entire District. In June 2009, a three-phase, $109M capital improvement program was launched utilizing Wight’s Design Led-Design Build (DL-DB) model. The entire program constructed 115,000 new square feet and renovated 633,000 existing square feet. Completed in August 2012 for the start of the 2012-13 school year, the district-wide capital improvement program cast a new path for the entire school community.

The accountability provided through the DL-DB model, allowed the District to create a flexible implementation plan that focused on the timing and balance of student impact. This plan also aligned with taxpayer expectations for responsible use of community resources. Five core considerations guided implementation:

  • Take advantage of the favorable bidding climate
  • Complete all work over a three-year period
  • Minimize construction impact on students by completing middle school work first
  • Immediately start the new centralized Westerhold Early Learning Center (ELC) to minimize cost escalation impact
  • Evenly spread the work throughout the District to benefit all students

Cost certainty across multiple phases

One of the challenges in developing the multi-phase program was “protecting” project budgets for later phases of work. Wight addressed this challenge by providing an independent Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) agreement for each phase of work. With early cost certainty established for each group of projects within a phase, design work commenced on the next phase of projects. By providing a single point of accountability across the program, all design and budget allocations were able to be managed by a team focused on overall program success rather than individual project metrics. The results enabled the District to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars while creating the best possible learning environments for students.

Learn more about some of the schools that benefited from this project:

Westerhold Early Childhood Center | Des Plaines CCSD 62, Westerhold Early Childhood Center

Orchard Place Elementary School | Des Plaines CCSD 62, Orchard Place Elementary School