District 202 approves Wilco agreement

By Andrea Earnest, Laura Katauskas | Enterprise Staff

At its Nov. 23 board of education meeting, District 202 approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Wilco Area Career Center regarding facilities renovation and construction.

Wilco is the result of a cooperative agreement among the high schools of Bolingbrook, Lemont, Plainfield Central, Plainfield North, Plainfield South, Plainfield East, Reed-Custer, Romeoville and Wilmington. By joining together in a centralized facility, the participating schools offer students a variety of quality career and technical education programs in a cost effective manner.

District 202 board member Rod Westfall presented the agreement to the board at its November meeting. Westfall, who also serves as board president for Wilco, said the center’s facilities are almost 40 years old and the building is in need of some repairs.

The renovation and construction would be paid for by the districts that use the facilities, which include District 202, Lemont Township District 210, Reed-Custer District 255U, Valley View School District 365U and Wilmington District 209U.

“All of the member districts support Wilco by paying tuition for their students,” District 202 Director of Community Relations Tom Hernandez said. “So, we all have to pay a share of the cost for the construction project.”

District 202 is the largest school district that uses Wilco, and all four Plainfield high schools, plus Plainfield Academy participate.

The proposed project would cost $2.7 million and provide needed upgrades to the facilities.

Hernandez added that Wilco needs to do some physical plant work and also expand its facilities.

The capital improvement proposal would include a host of projects, including upgrading mechanical equipment, expanding its welding lab, repairing various life-safety deficiencies, reconfiguring interior space to better deliver content curriculum, and constructing a storage building for equipment and vehicles that will also serve to aid in instruction of auto shop and welding. The project also calls for asbestos abatement and replacement of worn carpeting, lighting and crumbling concrete at the front entrance.

It is estimated that Wilco would contribute up to $300,000 from its existing fund balance to fund the proposed work, while also recommending a 10-year amortization schedule to finance the balance.

Wilco is proposing six funding options for the capital improvement project. The first option is similar to the option used to fund its last capital improvements, which were done in 2003.

Each school district would pay a percentage of the total cost based on how many students attend using a five-year average.

District 202 approved the funding agreement and costs should not exceed $996,910. Each school district will pay a percentage of the total cost based on how many students attend using a five-year average.

The Wilco board is expected to finalize the project and recommend funding options to each school district to be voted upon at their respective December board of education meetings. The majority of the five school districts that use Wilco facilities have to approve the project for it to move forward.

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