D202 board approves contracts for track refurbishments, yearbooks


Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette

Evanston Township High School, 1600 Dodge Ave.

Jacob Fulton, Assistant City Editor

The Evanston Township High School/District 202 school board approved multiple contracts at its Monday meeting, including a nearly $210,000 contract for track refurbishments.

The contract, awarded to Team Reil, is the second one to be awarded for the refurbishment of the ETHS outdoor track. In February, the board voted to pay Track Surfaces Company $329,500 to resurface the existing track.

Team Reil’s contract, however, will pay for the replacement of other elements of the track, including discus cages and the shot-put and long jump areas. Together, the two contracts will cost just under $540,000, well under the project’s proposed maximum budget of $750,000.

However, board member Gretchen Livingston expressed concerns about the financial implications of the project during COVID-19. She said that while the school is in good financial standing and had funding budgeted for the project, she said she wondered whether D202 should follow Evanston’s suit by cutting back on improvement projects.

“Is it appropriate for us to be spending this kind of money in this time of just enormous uncertainty?” Livingston said. “Even as I sit here, it gives me pause, and I wonder if we should be waiting.”

Due to the stay-at-home order, however, construction won’t disrupt classes or student life, one reason the timing of the project could be seen as opportune, Livingston said.

D202 Superintendent Eric Witherspoon said the project’s funding is already a line item for capital improvement, and as a result, cannot be transferred to more immediate COVID-19 support. However, he said the project may assist families and businesses facing financial uncertainty during the pandemic.

“This is an industry that can indeed be working according to the governor’s orders, and this would provide income for a lot of workers and their families,” Witherspoon said. “In addition, they have suppliers and this would also keep those businesses going.”

Livingston said moving forward, she hopes to see more in-depth discussion about fiscal issues to ensure decisions are made with complications caused by COVID-19 in mind.

But due to the unpredictability of COVID-19, Mary Rodino, the district’s chief financial officer, said such discussions may be difficult. In June, the district will start talking about the next budget, which may be hard to plan.

“We only have one more meeting before we start talking about the budget,” Rodino said. “So we don’t have a crystal ball, but we’re going to have to find one. The good thing is that the June budget discussions and what the board passes is tentative, and maybe we’ll have more information before then.”

Other contracts approved included bids for a yearbook provider and contracts for transportation for Special Education students, which were awarded to four different vendors for various purposes.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @jacobnfulton1