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The Doings (Clarendon Hills, Illinois)
Chuck Fieldman. | @chuckwriting

A major fundraising effort by the Clarendon Hills Middle School PTO is aimed at purchasing a new wood floor for the gym at the school, which has the tile floor that was installed when the school opened in 2000.

The PTO has raised about $120,000 so far for the project and will get an additional $10,000 from the Clarendon Hills Park District. However, the work will be rebid after a low bid came in at $169,723.

All four received bids, ranging from $169,723 to $226,000, were rejected May 12 by the Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181 Board.

Requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act are a reason for additional costs, said Gary Frisch, the district's assistant superintendent of business and operations.

Frisch said he expects seeking two separate bids in the next round - one for the installation of the new floor and one for additional work necessary because of the new floor - will result in a lower total cost.

"We should get more bids because some contractors only want to bid on the floor and others are interested in the other work," he said.

The additional work will be required because the wood floor is higher from ground level than the current tile.

"There will have to be some adjustments to the bleachers and (basketball) rims," Frisch said. "We also will look to retrofit the existing gym doors, instead of getting new ones, which will provide a cost savings."

"We believe we will receive more competitive bids and attract more bids, thereby anticipating lower overall costs," Frisch said.

Don Scheltens, the park district's executive director, agreed a wood floor would be an upgrade.

"We use the gym quite a bit for our activities," he said. "Wood is better to play on and easier on the body. Our board felt we wanted to contribute toward this because we use the facility so often."

Mike Piper, a physical education teacher and coach at CHMS, said a wood floor definitely would be an upgrade.

"I think it's fantastic," he said. "Every kid in the school will use it because it would be used for PE classes and interscholastic sports. It's more comfortable, and wood is safer in the long run. What we have now isn't unsafe, but wood is better. It also makes for better acoustics when we have concerts in the gym.

Eighth-graders Katie Porter and Jillian Wallace, both of whom played volleyball and basketball at the school, think a wood floor is a great idea.

"I hate this floor," Katie said. "It's always slippery and would be so much better if it was wood. You don't slide on wood, and it looks better. I just wish they would have done this while we were still here."

Katie had no argument from Jillian.

"This floor kind of shocks your feet," she said. "Wood feels so much better and isn't slippery like this floor."


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The Clarendon Hills Middle School PTO has raised about $120,000 in hopes of having a wood floor installed in the school's gym. | Chuck Fieldman/Sun-Times Media


May 22, 2014




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