New Downsized Proposal Being Considered
In April 2023, voters turned down a $175 million referendum. These funds were to be combined with $50 million of non-referendum dollars to address District 120’s highest priority capital facility needs.
Since then, the District has worked closely with its architects, engineers, and a Citizen Task Force in crafting a downsized proposal that better meets the needs of both its students and the community.
The timing of the next referendum will be determined by a formal vote of the District 120 School Board. On Dec. 5, 2023, the Board reached a consensus to not place the issue on the March 2024 ballot.
The Board’s Finance and Facilities Committee recommends putting the issue on the ballot for the November 2024 general election, citing a need to provide more time for public input and to further refine the proposed projects.
Waiting until the November ballot would not impact the timing of the facilities improvements. Work would begin in the spring of 2025 if a referendum succeeds anytime in 2024.
The current proposal being considered remains focused on bringing MHS up to modern educational standards and providing a safe, healthy, right-sized high school, but at a lower total cost.
Like the original proposal, District 120 would allocate $50 million of non-referendum dollars toward the proposed improvements. In addition, district voters would be asked to approve additional funding via a bond referendum.
Some of the proposed changes to the original proposal being considered include:
- Reducing the number of multi-use spaces previously proposed
- Expanding the high school’s footprint, but with 36,000 sq ft less of new construction
- Renovating the auditorium stage but not building a new black box theater
- Creating a single-level media center renovation in lieu of multi-level plan
- Converting the current main gym into a media center/student services space
- Developing a reduced and phased-in approach to an Athletic Center at Village Green
- Eliminating the mezzanine level fitness to reduce scope within the north gym renovation
- Incorporating CTE scope into the high school rather than constructing a new facility
Facility and site improvements that are likely to remain part of the funding proposal include:
- Repairing or replacing outdated, inefficient mechanical, electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems
- Updating fire safety equipment
- Creating a properly sized space within the high school for Career & Technical Education (CTE) programming
- Updating the health and wellness spaces and bringing them together into a centralized area to create continuity, free up classroom space, and make access easier for students
- Adding a ring road around the campus to improve traffic flow, decrease traffic congestion/delays, increase safety and security, and provide additional parking
- Upgrading the kitchen and cafeteria servery to alleviate space, health, and safety issues
- Expanding hallways to address unsafe and challenging overcrowding issues
- Creating a flexible-use multi-purpose center (fieldhouse),that would support multiple physical education classes and provide space for expanded educational programming, school assemblies, marching band practice, robotics tournaments, and more
- Enhancing/expanding the competition gymnasium, including adding air-conditioning, addressing ADA accessibility issues, and expanding the size to fit our needs
- Improving the outdated auditorium with a larger stage, updated rigging equipment, dedicated workshop and storage spaces, and adequate seating
- Expanding music classrooms and storage space to accommodate the number of students enrolled in those programs