DIXON, Ill. (KWQC) – Bringing five Dixon, Illinois schools up to code will cost its district millions.

A recent study found it will take $18 million just to get the high school to state standards. And another $4 million for the other four schools.

“The number is big,” said Dixon Public Schools Superintendent Margo Empen. “All of our buildings are aging, but we have a couple that are a little older than others.”

The high school is nearing its hundredth anniversary, and trying to maintain the structure has not been easy.

“Sometimes there’s just not enough, so you have to prioritize what needs to be done, and what has the biggest most immediate impact on what we do every day,” Empen said.

But now the school cannot ignore its problems due to limited resources.

“We just completed the 10-year health life safety survey,” Empen said.

This must be submitted to the state by the end of the year, and once it is accepted, work needs to begin to keep-up with deadlines.

“A are categories need to be done within the first 12 months,” Empen said. “B categories are within 5 years, and C categories are past the 5 year length.

Now there is a question on the table.

“Do we need to look at renovating the high school or is it worth considering financially a new building?”

Cost comparisons are still unknown. Those things will be revealed to the school board and public at the beginning of December.

What is known: finding funds to help pay for either project won’t be easy to come by. The district anticipates needing help from either a sales tax or referendum.

“We have asked for the one percent sales tax in the past and it has been defeated twice so far,” Empen said.

Conceptual plans for both renovations and a new school are going to be presented at a community meeting. That’s taking place at the high school on Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m.

The board is expected to have a decision by March.

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