Board Winnows Down Architectural-Space Utilization Firms to Two

There was no official vote taken, but preferences were expressed after three Architectural Services-Space Utilization applicants made their pitches to the McHenry County College Board Thursday night.

Except for the new Student Trustee Justin Peters, the players remained the same until the end of the meeting when Tom Wilbeck resigned.

Except for the new Student Trustee Justin Peters (third from the left), the players remained the same until the end of the meeting when Tom Wilbeck resigned.

The three finalists were

  1. Holabird & Root
  2. Wight & Company
  3. Demonica Kemper Architects

There was a consensus to eliminate the Wight firm.

Molly Walsh didn’t know which of the other two firms she favored, but Wight was definitely her number three pick.

Chris Jenner was on the screening committee and he said that Wight didn’t even make his final list of three.

The Wight team.

The Wight team.

Wight was the one which came up with the widely-criticized 40-year “Master Plan.”

Wight’s plan was based on the assumption that enrollment would grow 3% per year pretty much ad infinitum.

That stimulated bond analyst Steve Willson to find out where the number came from.

The closest he got was that it was pretty much picked out of the air by college administrators and was not questioned by the Wight folks.

Vicky Smith

Vicky Smith

Former Board President Mary Miller thought Wight should not be selected “because of the negative push back in the numbers and growth [projections].”

She pointed out the negative publicity was in the newspaper and evidenced in public comments before the Board.

College President Vicky Smith agreed with Miller, but she strongly supported getting the space needs subcontractor that Wight selected.

She said she was torn between Holabird & Root and Demonica Kemper Architects

Didn't catch this member of the

Didn’t catch the name of this member of the Demonica Kemper Architects team, but he said he is on the Woodstock School Board.

Demonica Kemper Architects was favored at least in part because it had the most local residents on its team.

I caught an undercurrent of an expectation that the firm’s employees would be the most helpful in passing a bond referendum.

Holabird & Root impressed Smith with its suggestion for using the auditorium for more than just an auditorium.  She also highly approved of the modular design in a remodeling job on another Illinois community college.

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