McHenry City Council talks traffic, drainage concerns related to District 156 expansion

City concerned about traffic, drainage related to West campus overhaul

The city of McHenry approved its portion of an intergovernmental agreement Monday related to traffic and drainage issues that could result from the ongoing campus overhaul at McHenry High School West .

The McHenry School District 156 Board must give its own approval on the agreements, which will take place at a future meeting.

The district this summer began construction on the West and East high school campuses, with plans to continue work through 2021. The ultimate plan is for East campus to serve freshman students only, with West hosting sophomores, juniors and seniors. Council members have expressed concern about the effect that plan will have on traffic on Crystal Lake Road and in residential areas near the school. The city wants the district to agree to pay for traffic studies and signal upgrades.

A drainage agreement must also be approved. The drainage agreement calls for the district to maintain the drainage area adjacent to the west side of the school property, according to city documents. The district must remove trees, saplings, shrubs and any debris that may interfere with water flow.

A debate emerged Monday night regarding possible drainage problems and easement errors. The drainage ditch in question runs through Ward 2 Alderman Andy Glab’s property but wasn’t included on the map, he said.

The council voted to request the district include his lot in the agreement, with Glab abstaining and Ward 7 Alderwoman Sue Miller voting no.

The traffic agreement requires that Oakwood Drive become a “right turn only” exit. This will direct traffic to a intersection with traffic signals at Royal Drive and prevent traffic through a residential area, according to city documents.

The district also must pay for a traffic study to analyze the effect the Oakwood Drive change will have at Royal Drive and Crystal Lake Road, according to city documents.

In addition, the district will pay for all engineering services, equipment and construction costs associated with traffic signal upgrades at Dartmoor Drive and Crystal Lake Road and/or at Royal Drive and Crystal Lake Road.

The district also would have to agree to pay for a traffic study, engineering, equipment and construction in the future for a new traffic signal at Crystal Lake Road and the south entrance/exit of the property, according to city documents.

Summer construction projects are almost complete, but work is expected to continue through 2021.

The district hopes to complete the 70,000-square-foot addition at West by May 2020. Construction on the proposed Center for Science and Technology will continue through the 2019-20 school year, according to the district.

The district then will renovate existing classroom and office space at West in January 2021 as it begins to move into the new space, according to the district.

This summer, projects on East campus included the installation of a geothermal HVAC system, LED interior and exterior lighting, a new roof, roof HVAC, classroom ceilings and flooring, new hot water heaters and a water softener system, and a building automation system, according to District 156.

On West campus, the district has constructed or is working on constructing projects such as the new south parking lot with capacity for more than 200 students, a new bus lane and 10 tennis courts. Removal of mobile classrooms at West and new tiling for the pool also were included on the summer project list, according to the district.

In summer 2020, the district plans to improve classrooms, flooring and lockers at East and implement new classroom technology, according to the district.

The district hopes to shift campuses by August 2021.

The projected cost for the overhaul is $44 million, which voters approved via referendum in November 2018.

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