by Benjamin Cirillo – Staff writer, Chicago Suburban Newspapers
Thu Jul 25 10:54:00 PDT 2002
Although St. Charles East has been officially declared free of mold, the situation will not be truly remedied until students are allowed back in the building.
That last piece of the puzzle is a full occupancy permit for the building, expected to be issued by Regional Superintendent Clem Mejia before the month is out.
A full permit will allow the building to be used as a school.
"We expect to get that this week," said District 303 Director of Communications Tom Hernandez.
The building is now operating under a partial permit, which allows staff members to move materials into the building but does not allow classes or programs to be held there.
Environmental health consultants Carnow, Conibear and Associates began work in October to clean and repair the school. The school was closed in April 2001, after mold was found throughout the building.
CCA declared the building free of mold in March, and since then, contractors have worked to restore the building to a usable state.
Mejia spent several hours touring the school Monday, July 22. He could not be reached for comment after the tour, but last week he said he had divided the occupancy process into four phases: the Norris Cultural Arts Center, Main Gym, Dunham Wing, and Main Wing. After the tour, there will still be some time needed to file the appropriate paperwork, he said.
"We’re hoping to have a final occupancy permit by the end of the month," Mejia said at that time.
The work to clean the 300,000-square-foot high school complex and the Norris Cultural Arts Center stands at about $26 million, Hernandez said.
In addition, the district has spent about $1.9 million on expert study, analysis and guidance to determine the cause, extent of and solution to the problem; about $2.8 million for construction supervision; and about $5.2 million for mobile units needed to house Wredling Middle School students who were moved from their school. East High School students have occupied Wredling this school year.
Moving Wredling’s and East High School’s materials back to their respective home schools, removing the mobiles and restoring the grounds between Thompson and Haines middle schools, where the Wredling mobile campus is now situated, is expected to cost another $1.1 million.
Earlier this month, Wredling Middle School Principal Bob Lindahl said the move is "going just fine. We’re way ahead of schedule."
The process is a two-step move: St. Charles East materials need to be moved out of Wredling Middle School into the East building, and materials from the Wredling mobile campus need to be moved back into the Wredling building.
The schedule for the move-back, updated weekly, is available on the district’s Web site, www.d303.org.