FAQs on HMS Construction

HMS Construction FAQs

(Last Reviewed/Updated: September 13, 2017)

How can I learn more about construction of HMS?

You can learn more about the construction of Hinsdale Middle School through the reports and information posted on our HMS Construction webpages. We welcome comments and questions through the contact form linked there. Emails (sent to bmcguiggan@d181.org) and phone calls (630.861.4924) are always welcomed. Any community member is encouraged to follow the District on Twitter @CCSD181 (#HMSconstruction) and join our Key Communicator email list (by emailing bmcguiggan@d181.org). Details about any upcoming community events will be noted on the HMS Construction main page.

What will the new school look like?

We encourage you to view our image gallery featuring renderings of the new HMS, as well as images of new furniture samples reviewed by teachers and staff. The interior floor plans are available on the Construction and Bids webpage.

When will the new school open to students?

We had initially planned for the school to open in time for the start of the 2018-19 school year (August 2018). However, due to delays from litigation and other factors, on August 14, 2017, the Board approved a change to the final schedule which moved completion to the fall of 2018, with an anticipated student move-in date of winter break in 2018-19. The final stages (demolition of the current building, parking lot/deck construction, and re-seeding of Washington Street field) will take place after the new building opens. As planned, students who are in 7th grade in 2017-18 will complete their 8th grade year in the new building, students who are in 6th grade in 2017-18 will complete both their 7th and 8th grade year in the new building, and students who are in 5th grade in 2017-18 will complete all three years of middle school in the new building.

Where is the new HMS building located?

The new school is being constructed to the immediate south of the existing building, at the corner of Third Street and Garfield Avenue in Hinsdale. The current building will be demolished once construction is complete.

Are students and staff being displaced or significantly disrupted during construction? How will the District ensure students, staff, and visitors are safe during construction?

During construction, green space at HMS is very limited due to the work taking place, the temporary relocation of staff and Village parking spaces, and the needed staging of equipment and supplies. Therefore, P.E. classes will stay indoors during the construction period and activities that traditionally take place outside are being moved inside or to a different location in the community. We do not anticipate any students will otherwise be displaced, as the new school is being built around the current building. The architect and construction manager have mapped out detailed site logistics that have helped to create a continued safe environment for students, staff, and visitors. The Hinsdale Police and Fire Departments have participated in these discussions. (A visual of the site logistics is available on the HMS Construction main page.)

How is the learning environment addressed in the HMS design?

Improvements for learning spaces in the new HMS design include creating classrooms that (1) are consistent in shape and size, (2) meet the District's square footage guidelines, and (3) are planned in a way that is more conducive for current programming and student use. The new building is also fully ADA compliant. The currently outdated Family and Consumer Science lab and Applied Technology lab will be updated. The Media Resource Center (library) is separated from busy classrooms and located on the first floor. All science labs have appropriate space for safe instruction and needed infrastructure. The P.E. instructional space is improved with a more appropriately designed fitness center and a first floor location. Instructional and support spaces for music (band, chorus, orchestra) are appropriately sized and acoustically enhanced. Classrooms for special education services are improved, as well. The design additionally includes a variety of small group collaboration spaces the current building now lacks. A modern HVAC system will further support a more high quality learning environment by providing consistent temperatures throughout the building.

How is parking addressed in the HMS design?

We have collaborated with the Village of Hinsdale around creation of a two-level parking deck at the HMS site (with the Village funding the difference in cost between a surface lot and the two-level deck). Conversations are ongoing related to execution of an intergovernmental agreement to guide use of the parking deck by the District and Village. The deck will allow the street spaces currently used by staff to be freed up for community use. The new HMS design additionally includes a newly located school bus loading zone and reconfigured parent drop-off and pick-up areas.

How is school safety and security addressed in the HMS design?

The current HMS building has a high number of first-floor doors, and while all remain locked during school hours, this does create a safety concern that is addressed in new construction. The main entrance to HMS was reconfigured in 2009 to require visitors to be buzzed-in before entering the main part of the building; the main entrance in the new design maintains this type of secure entry and other security enhancements being made at all D181 schools. The PA system in the current HMS building is a challenge for students and staff because the sound does not travel well to certain parts of the building, due in part to the many adjustments made to the layout since the school's original construction in 1976. A quality PA system is included in the design for a new school. The design's reconfigured parent drop-off and pick-up location and improved parking area are anticipated to also help contribute to a safer school environment. Additionally, having common spaces like the gymnasium and MRC on the first floor (instead of the third floor and second floor, respectively) will allow the rest of the building to be locked off to visitors when those spaces are in use in the evening by the school and by community groups renting the facility.

How many students can be housed in the new school? What is the square foot per student? Will the trailers (mobiles / temporary classrooms) be removed once construction is complete?

The current HMS enrollment is approximately 760 students. The new school is meant to accommodate more students given the unknown future enrollment increases we may experience over the next several decades and the already limited space at Clarendon Hills Middle School. The new design can comfortably accommodate 838 students (78% utilization factor and 26 students per core classroom). Should there be a bubble of higher enrollment, the building could house more students by managing the space differently (i.e. temporarily larger class sizes or shared space for staff) - such solutions would be temporary and could most likely be anticipated several years in advance, as a particularly large class of students can typically be identified as early as kindergarten or 1st grade. (The most recent report on HMS and District-wide enrollment projections as provided by demographer John Kasarda, Ph.D. is available on our Human Resources Department webpage.) Cordogan Clark & Associates architects has calculated the design has approximately 160 square feet per student. The trailers (mobiles) will be eliminated once construction is complete.

What is the cost for building a new HMS? What is the tax impact for homeowners following the successful passage of the referendum?

The referendum amount that voters approved was $53,329,194. Prior to the referendum's approval, the net debt service (cost with interest) was estimated at $83,454,225; the actual amount was reduced by roughly $5 million by the time of the actual bond sale, as explained in the District's four-page “Cost and Tax Impact” document. That publication also shows an estimate of the impact for home values between $500,000 and $2.5 million and much more additional financial detail.

What is the source of the District's existing debt?

The District’s existing debt that will be paid in full by CY 2023 is primarily due to seven different bond series (issued from 2011-2016), which were issued to refinance original bonds (issued from 1997-2004) for renovations and/or additions at Elm, Madison, Monroe, Oak, and The Lane, and new construction of CHMS, Prospect, and Walker.

What is the cost per square foot for the new school, and how does that compare to other school construction projects?

The cost per square foot has been calculated at $383. Posted in the HMS Construction section of our website is a resource showing how this figure compares to other school projects.

What is included in the project budget?

It is important to note that the referendum amount of $53,329,194 includes many components beyond the actual construction of a new school building - such as contingencies, insurance, construction management services, demolition of the current building, and the temporary relocation of mobiles and parking. Project budget reports prepared by Construction Manager Bulley & Andrews and the Owner's Representative Kerry Leonard are posted in the HMS Construction section of our website.

Is the District considering how to fund facility needs in the other D181 schools besides HMS? Does D181 set aside money in its operating budget for these types of capital improvements?

The Facilities Master Plan that is currently in development identifies capital needs for all District 181 schools. The data we have collected shows there are a number capital needs for the other eight school buildings in D181 over the next ten years (parking lot repairs, roof replacement, plumbing needs, etc.); that information is continuing to be reviewed by the Board Facilities Committee. Funds are set aside in the District's annual budget to address facility needs, however the needs identified in the Facilities Master Plan exceed that threshold.

Why did the District loan itself $3.1 million for the HMS project? Did the District reimburse itself for that loan?
During the January 17, 2017 Board of Education meeting, the Board approved a resolution authorizing a $2 million loan from the District's Working Cash Fund to the District's Operations and Maintenance Fund and a resolution authorizing a transfer of the same amount from the Operations and Maintenance Fund to the Capital Projects Fund. On February 27, the Board approved a resolution "Authorizing the Transfer of Funds from the Education Fund to the Capital Improvement Fund" totaling $1.1 million. Those actions were necessary to ensure the District could pay current bills for the construction manager and architect services, as well as projected expenses through the opening of Bid Group #2. Typically, that action would not be needed because the bond sale proceeds would be used to finance the project (per the approved referendum), however because of litigation, the bond sale was not permitted to proceed. With legal issues resolved, the District was able to reimburse itself via bond sale proceeds.

How much was spent on legal costs related to the HMS project, including the now-resolved lawsuit?
The Board of Education's attorney continues to track expenses related to the HMS project. This includes expenses related to costs for typical project work (e.g., working with Bond counsel, preparing referendum resolutions, reviewing contracts for the architect, construction manager, and owner's representative, etc.) as well as expenses related to the litigation and legislation issues that arose. Please visit the HMS Construction section of our website for the latest update on Legal Fees when available.