The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

New Trier looks to renovate building

On March 18, New Trier administrators asked the school board to change the Northfield Campus to fix its current deficiencies as well as renovate complete accessibility for people with disabilities.  Thirty percent of the Winnetka Campus is currently inaccessible or non-compliant with ADA (The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990).

According to Dr. Dohrer, the school board strongly supports the ADA renovations and said that New Trier’s Steering Committee can start planning on ADA renovations for 2013 and 2014. The board also asked the committee to provide an updated long range facility plan for the April 16 board meeting.

The board meeting looked at new installations that repairs needs, such as installing an exterior ramp up to the lobby area in the Gaffney, family bathrooms in the Gaffney, and elevator in the north building as soon as possible.

At the February 25board meeting, Principal Architect Mark Joliceour and Project Architect for Perkins + Will, Michael Dolter, also presented plans for ramps and handicapped accessible restrooms in the Cornog and Gaffney Auditoriums. He also suggested to install an elevator in the Gates Gym and an elevator in the North Building at the Winnetka Campus to address these ADA issues.

February 2, 2010, the New Trier Township District asked residents their opinion on whether the district should enter into a $174 million renovation in order to alter, repair and replace aging facilities on the Winnetka campus.

According to the Illinois State Board of Education, this was the fifth most expensive referendum in Illinois history by an individual school district. The measure was defeated, as 62 percent voted no.

If approved, taxpayers were expected to pay $248-$295 per annual $10,000 tax bill, starting in fall of 2011.  Because the referendum was defeated, however, the potential cost to taxpayers would have increased only by $85 per $10,000 tax bill.

New Trier Choices, a group who was opposed to the bond referendum argued that if the bond issue had been approved by voters, there would have been hidden property tax increases. New Trier Choices also claimed that these hidden tax increases would come from $100 million in interest expense that would have been added to the $174 million the district was asking for.

Part of this project would have been funded through the Build America Bonds program which was made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Today, New Trier’s facilities still fail to keep up with the ever changing educational environment. If the project was approved by voters, New Trier would have gained 41 new classrooms and 18 renovated classrooms, three new labs for science classes, all new classrooms for music, preforming arts, visual and tech arts classes, installation of new heating and cooling and various other improvements that are crucial to New Trier’s Winnetka campus.

“No question the tech arts department, cafeteria and music building are insufficient to our current need and insufficient to the future,” said Winnetka campus principal, Dr. Tim Dohrer.

According to the New Trier Administration, the referendum would have helped avoid making more costly repairs that were needed immediately to buildings that will eventually be replaced. The school would have also saved around $14.5 million.

As of now, New Trier has a total of $35 million to spend on renovations and repairs for the next 20 years. Of that $35 million, some money has already been spent on spot work and repairs, according to Dohrer.

Some New Trier students feel that parts of the school such as the tech arts department on the first floor need more renovations and repairs than others.

Others feel that the Gates Gym, built in 1928, needs more repair, especially the lack of air conditioning. Replacement of the Gates Gym will need millions of dollars in immediate repairs.

“My junior year during lifetime activities, we were playing pickle ball and it really doesn’t require any effort at all. But, since there is no air conditioning I started to sweat and it made my experience in KW really frustrating,” said senior Max Obolsky.




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