Crews working on summer upgrades at area schools

Summer has arrived.

And so has school construction season.

Many school districts across McHenry County are taking advantage of the mostly empty hallways to repave parking lots, repair roofs and upgrade classrooms.

“It’s always the time for the upkeep and cleaning of the schools,” said Carol Smith, District 200’s spokeswoman.

District 200 has a few small projects dotted around its schools, including replacing carpet at Dean Street Elementary School and fixing chimneys at Greenwood Elementary School, she said.

Its two larger projects include an estimated $100,000 worth of repairs to the transportation parking lot and the construction of two new softball fields at Woodstock High School for $200,000.

The two fields – a smaller one for JV and a larger one for varsity – will bring the sport back to the school, Smith said.

District 155 will begin an $8.5 million modernization of the 50-year-old auditorium at Cary-Grove High School.

The work includes tearing down the old theater and building a new 650-seat theater as well as overhauling the accompanying lobby, multipurpose room, restrooms, dressing rooms and scene shop, district spokesman Jeff Puma said.

The school’s main entrance also will be updated to enhance its security, he said.

The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2015 and is being funded in part through a $1.5 million donation from the Cary-Grove Fine Arts Foundation.

Also on District 155’s to-do list is the 18-year-old roof at Prairie Ridge High School.

Half of the roof will be replaced this summer with the other half on the docket for next summer, Puma said. The project is estimated to cost $1.2 million.

Seven chemistry labs also will be renovated for $2.28 million. They include one at Prairie Ridge and two at the other three high schools.

District 15 has $1.3 million worth of work lined up for the summer at three of its eight schools: new boilers at Hilltop Elementary School and partial roof replacements at Edgebrook Elementary School and Parkland Middle School, said Mark Bertolozzi, the district’s chief financial officer.

McHenry’s other district doesn’t have much on its agenda, said Kevin Weisenberger, District 156’s facilities manager.

Work has started on replacing the visitor bleachers at McCracken Field, which were damaged when a microburst hit McHenry during the larger weather event that leveled Washington, Illinois, in mid-November, he said.

The bleachers, which cost between $250,000 to $300,000, will be replaced with similar bleachers through insurance, Weisenberger said.

The district also might make some repairs to its parking lots, but the final decision hasn’t been made yet, he said.

Johnsburg’s District 12 is also keeping a low profile this construction season, Superintendent Dan Johnson said.

The district’s architects are putting together designs for referendum funded improvements at three of the district’s schools, including an expansion of Johnsburg Junior High School to house the grades currently at James C. Bush Elementary School, he said. Construction could start as early as the spring of 2015.