Rockford School Board has agreed to build new two schools as part of a 10-year facilities plan, which would upgrade RPS 205 buildings and shrink the District’s footprint.
Administrators, staff, and the community have waited more than a year for this vote, which was the final step needed to implement the District’s 10-year facilities plan. The motion was amended to ensure that construction follows the proposed time frame; that deferred maintenance and new furniture needs will be funded and met; that educational and operational needs will be met; regular reports will be provided on the facilities plan implementation; and annual reports will be provided on budget development and progress as these conditions are met.
The School Board approved the motion 6-1.
The School Board approved an updated 10-year facilities plan in August 2014, based on in-depth analysis and community input. That plan called for the closure of eight buildings and the construction of 13 elementary school additions and two new schools. As part of the plan’s implementation, the School Board directed the Administration to create a Facilities Plan Oversight Committee to study the District’s finances and analyze construction work, before incurring any cost for those two new elementary schools.
The Facilities Oversight Committee presented its findings to the School Board in November, after a yearlong analysis of RPS 205 finances and construction management so far. The committee agreed the district could continue with the plan, as approved, because it is financially feasible to complete the plan and build two new schools within budget.
Design and construction bids have not yet been awarded. Exact locations for the new construction have not yet been decided. Tentative plans for new schools are as follows:
New School No. 1 will replace Nelson and Kishwaukee elementary schools. Nelson and Kishwaukee will close after the 2017-18 school year. A new school that combines those school populations will open for the 2018-19 school year. The 84,000 square-foot building will cost an estimated $21.5 million.
New School No. 2 will replace Cherry Valley, White Swan and Thompson elementary schools. The three schools will close after the 2018-19 school year. A new school will open for the 2019-20 school year. The 84,000 square-foot building will cost an estimated $20.6 million.