OPRF to decide on pool option by next spring

Feasibility study on proposed locations undertaken

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By Terry Dean

Staff reporter

Oak Park and River Forest High School will decide by early next spring where it will construct its new pool.

Supt. Steven Isoye said that decision will come either in February or March of next year. The school will also conduct a feasibility study into the current options for the pools, including building a facility in part of the current parking garage or just north of the baseball field where the tennis courts are currently located. The other option is building just north of the football field, resulting in the baseball field shifting north and taking up the tennis court space. The courts would be relocated to the new facility's upper level, according to the latter of the two options.

After a decision is made next spring, it will still be a couple of years, likely, before any facility is built, Isoye said.

That timeframe is needed, he added, regardless of which direction the high school goes, but especially for the parking garage option.

The garage situation is a unique one because the school does not own that building. The village of Oak Park owns the garage but the high school owns the land it resides on. Isoye noted there are a lot of things to consider with the garage, including possible zoning and permit changes needed for that space.

"We need to do our due diligence," Isoye said. "That's why I've been hesitant to give a firm date [for a decision] because there are so many things to consider."

The village, could, for instance, OK a structure but require it be built within a certain distance from the curb on Lake Street, Isoye noted. The high school faced a similar situation when it tried to install lights at its stadium six years ago. The application was sent back when the light standards in its designs weren't placed in the proper spot according to the village's zoning code for new structures.

The other issue with a new pool facility is whether the school can build one without going for a bond referendum, similar to what District 97 did before building its two middle schools in the late '90s, early 2000s. The high school planned to use some of its fund balance to build the facility. Isoye said the school's attorney is looking into the referendum question.

No pool facility at Dominick's

Isoye added that OPRF is not exploring the Dominick's space at Lake and Harvey for the pool site. Dominick's announced last month that it is leaving Oak Park and River Forest next year. The Oak Park location came up at a recent D200 Finance Advisory Committee meeting, wondering whether that was a possible option for a pool site. Isoye said Dominick's is not among the options the school is considering, nor will it be part of the feasibility study.

CONTACT: tdean@wjinc.com

Reader Comments

8 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

But you can  

Posted: April 21st, 2014 2:41 PM

This year the PDOP offered lap swimming to the public on Sunday mornings for a nominal fee at OPRF. They could've advertised it better, but many of us definitely took advantage this winter! If FFC is too pricey, West Cook YMCA also offers lapswim for members many hours of the day. As to Tax Payer's point: Ridgeland is an outdoor pool. The seasons for boys and girls high school swimming in Illinois are fall and winter. They can't train or compete at an outdoor pool in the fall or winter.

Why not?   

Posted: April 21st, 2014 2:03 PM

North Riverside residents can swim for free on Sundays in their HS pool, I believe. No reason we can't open up the OPRFHS pool to residents for lap swim or hold a few exercise classes.

OP Res 253 from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 21st, 2014 1:25 PM

Dear Senior Citizen, thank you for living long. We appreciate it. It does not, however, 'entitle' you to a pool with aquacize classes. Mind you, you can certainly take them at FFC. Swimming is good exercise and you should prioritize it for yourself. But understand as I struggle to pay these taxes, feed this children, maintain my home and contribute 13+% to social security, I'm not really feeling the obligation to provide you a free dip...

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: April 21st, 2014 10:11 AM

Please keep talking about this and wait ten more years - I'll be gone then.

fisher  

Posted: April 20th, 2014 10:06 PM

Oak Park sucks.

Tax payer from Oak Park  

Posted: April 20th, 2014 9:04 PM

This talk about a pool and moving tennis courts or destroying a garage is insane. Issuing bonds for all of this? There is a park district pool 300 yards away

Senior Citizen from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2013 5:18 PM

There are a number of senior citizens and adults who would love to be able to have a place to swim or have classes in aqua exercise. We hope that our health and recreational needs will be kept in mind as the high school develops plans for a new pool. We pay taxes! We deserve a place to maintain our health. For many seniors, swimming is the best option. THANKS!

7ofus  

Posted: November 20th, 2013 6:44 PM

Here is the place that I'm eager for a district to spend some dough. All kids need to learn to swim, OPRF opens this facility up to the disabled (WSSRA) and little ones. They use it in gym classes AND they can rebuild some kick-*ss swim, dive and water-polo teams. DO IT!!!!

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