After a long and secret retreat, the McHenry County College selected the architectural firm of Demonica Kempter Architects (DKA). (Fortunately, I brought three newspapers and a new science fiction novel to read while waiting in the hall.)
The firm was selected over Hokaiurd & Root by a 4-2 vote.
Arguing for DKA were Trustees Cynthia Kisser, Linda Liddell and Mary Miller. They were joined by Board President Ron Parrish in the vote.
Liddell was impressed with DKA’s emphasis on “better space utilization” and “minimizing excess cost.”
“I like DKA because they are local,” Miller said, although it was later pointed out that DKA was headquartered in Chicago as is Hokaiurd & Root.
Both firms have headquarters in Chicago, but DKA was considered the more local firm because one of the nine people brought to the last Board meeting, when presentations were made, is a Woodstock School Board member.
The DKA proposal, however, was contingent on its hiring the space utilization firm which Hokaiud & Root proposed. The Colorado-based firm was most impressive to College President Vicky Smith.
Trustee Mary Miller first broached the point.
“I like Dr. Smith’s idea.”
DKA has told Smith that it is willing to follow the subcontractor substitution wish of the Board.
Opposition to DKA came from Trustees Molly Walsh and Chris Jenner, both elected last year.
A major reason for their dissatisfaction with the firm was its willingness to rely partially on Chicago Metropolitan Planning Agency (CMAP) population projections.
She specifically pointed to DKA’s willingness to rely upon CMAP.
“That was a red flag for me.”
“I just want to start with an open mind, rather than with a preconceived notion.”
Selecting CMAP (formerly known as the Northern Illinois Planning Commission or NIPC) as the starting point is “starting on the wrong foot,” Walsh continued.
“They have been discredited,” she said, pointing to the inaccuracy of CMAP figures used in the McHenry County Transportation Department’s Randall Road justification.
“They take direction from us,” Kisser reminded the Board.
Jenner said he was impressed that Hokaiurd & Root “seemed more concerned with the inside space than the outside” and that it did not “seem set on expansion or a new building.”
Student Trustee Justin Peters told of seeing the DKA team on campus often and mentioned pizza being served at one meeting with students.
Before the vote Smith explained she didn’t have “any problems with any of the architects.
“I have to credit Chair Parish for insisting on studying space utilization,” Smith said before the vote.
After the vote, dissenter Jenner told his colleagues he had not problem fully supporting the selection of the majority.