Highland News Leader

Highland School Boardapproves life safety survey

The Highland School Board on Monday unanimously approved its 10-year life safety survey.

The report identified $351,295 in urgent life safety building needs in the district and another $7.191 million in required life safety projects that need to be completed by the district.

Before any work can move forward, the survey must be approved by the Regional Board of Education and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), which could take several months.

Generally, “urgent” items need to be completed within one year of approval by the ISBE and “required” projects need to be completed within three to five years.

The district also identified $2.21 million in recommended building projects that do not qualify as life safety initiatives.

“These are projects the district can do if and when they want,” said District Business Manager Tim Bair.

The Highland School Board has not decided how it will fund the improvements. The board could issue one big bond or a number of smaller bonds, Bair said. Life safety bonds are not subject to public vote.

Last month, Jeff Williams, the district’s building and grounds director, told School Board members they needed to start planning for massive life safety needs. Williams presented his findings in a sample five-year facilities plan, which he prepared and shared with four board members, along with Superintendent Mike Sutton, Assistant Superintendent Derek Hacke and Bair, who attended the retreat, which was held in the Administration Building. The report identified 523 projects that have to be addressed by the district.