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Local

DeKalb School District 428 Board authorizes Lincoln air conditioning project, Chesebro lease negotiations

DeKALB – By the start of the 2018 fall semester, every DeKalb School District 428 classroom will have air conditioning after the district board unanimously approved a $1.1 million bid to install a new boiler and chiller at Lincoln Elementary School during its Tuesday meeting.

After the vote, Lincoln Elementary Principal Jennifer Tallitsch offered her thanks to the board on behalf of faculty, students and their families.

“It’s been long coming, and we really appreciate the work you put forward to allow us to have this,” Tallitsch said.

Although there are a few individual units in certain parts of the building, Lincoln Elementary is the only school in the district without air conditioning in the whole building.

This caused classes to be canceled on two straight days in September. A few days after the cancellations, about one-sixth of the school’s population was absent because of extreme heat.

The total amount of bids for asbestos abatement and the installation of the boiler and chiller came in $18,000 above the bids made last year, but board Vice President Fred Davis said this was still a reasonable bid.

Tammy Carson, District 428 director of facility operations, had said during a Finance Facilities Advisory Committee meeting that the asbestos abatement for the project would take place over spring break, and the boiler and chiller work is targeted toward the end of the school year.

The board also unanimously approved the negotiation of a lease of the Chesebro Elementary building to a company planning to renovate and use it for teaching. Chesebro has been closed and used for storage by the district since 2011.

Austin, Texas-based Camelot Education contacted the district at the beginning of the school year about leasing the building, since its current lease on a facility on Oak Street in DeKalb is set to expire in 2018. Its plan would be to create a therapeutic day school to give students a more individualized classroom experience.

Factoring in the utilities savings and the cost to rent an alternative space for storage, Carson estimated that the net revenue from the lease would exceed $2 million over the 10-year agreement.

Once renovations are complete, Carson said Camelot would be responsible for interior work, but services such as snowplowing, mowing, roofing and major HVAC work would be handled by the district.

Board President Victoria Newport said the district is still looking at potential storage sites, but has until March to find a suitable location.

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