District 117 board members approved an architect for the Turner Renovation Project during a special meeting last night.
The board’s top four architectural candidates were given the opportunity to talk about their experiences with similar projects and explain their plans going forward with Turner.
After a detailed discussion, board members selected BLDD of Decatur as the top firm to work with. The rest of the boards rankings resulted in FGM of O’Fallon finishing second, Graham and Hyde of Springfield coming in third and RuckPate of Barrington in fourth.
District 117 Superintendent Steve Ptacek says he was impressed with all four architectural firms, but the board agreed BLDD’s involvement with the Vision 117 process and experience with similar reconstruction projects gave them an edge.
“We know that BLDD has a very extensive knowledge of Turner and they have a lot of work done already on design plans,” says Ptacek.
“We know they are the best firm to serve this community moving forward.”
BLDD’s previous reconstruction projects include Washington High School and Eisenhower High School in Decatur.
In order to obtain the best educational working environment, BLDD will conduct a unique experience for community members to provide input on Turner’s building plans. During the prototype process, BLDD will construct a modified building for teachers and students to simulate an actual class setting. Ptacek says this is one of the many examples of community involvement that BLDD brings to the table.
“I think they will engage in a community engagement process, very similar to the process they developed for Vision 117,” says Ptacek.
“As they put it, our teachers will be strong designers in this project and the community interest will definitely be integrated into the plan.”
Ptacek says BLDD’s history with construction management projects was very important.
“Since our project has a cap on the amount of money we can spend, the construction manager model will allow us to have a set cap of expenses,” says Ptacek.
Ptacek listed several of BLDD’s renovation plans for Turner that stuck out to him.
“I love the use of the courtyard, creating an open space that is still green and allowing more light in. The plans show a potential for providing more band and fine arts opportunities in an auditorium space for performances. They are just hitting on the major needs that we need at Turner,” says Ptacek.
BLDD’s construction work in Jacksonville includes Passavant Area Hospital, Illinois College and Farmers State Bank.
Sam Johnson of BLDD says a Fall 2017 completion for the Turner Renovation Project is a strong possibility.
A meeting will be held at the Central Office on Wednesday to finalize the contract with BLDD.