By Terry Dean
The consultant hired by Oak Park and River Forest High School earlier this spring to study its decades-old swimming pools is still gathering data about what to do with the aging facilities, school officials said.
The company, Canada-based Stantec, has been examining the pools and talking with school stakeholders since being hired by the OPRF school board in April. The firm was hired following a string of problems that began cropping up with the pools during the last two years.
The most recent issue involved the diving board in the east pool, where the diving team practices and host meets. The school was forced to remove the diving board in January after it failed to meet new state safety guidelines concerning ceiling height and pool depth. The school's diving team was forced to practice at Fenwick and Riverside-Brookfield high schools, and their home meets were relocated to the opponents' schools.
In fall 2010, the school fired its longtime architect over the firm's mishandling of renovations and state inspection of the pools. Other pool issues have involved leakage and drain problems that have since been fixed. Both the west and east pools are 80-plus years old and well past their lifetime, school officials said.
Stantec was hired to find an alternative solution for the facilities.
"We are still in the data collection [and] brain-storming stages," said Karin Sullivan, OPRF's communications director. "The consultant has prepared some preliminary costs and possible sites. The [stakeholder] committee has reviewed this data and then sent the consultant back to reconsider possible alternatives."
Sullivan said the consultant is gathering additional data and will probably report back to the school in September.