Oak Park and River Forest High School's newly designed website is up and running with additional content to be added throughout the school year.
The redesigned site launched Sept. 8. The original site, first launched in 1994, is no longer in operation. Purple Monkey Studios of Oak Park redesigned the new site.
Basic content such as contact information was immediately added. School officials opted to completely shutdown the old site while content is transferred to the new one.
Suggested improvements to the site were compiled through surveys and focus groups distributed last fall by OPRF and Purple Monkey.
School officials admitted that the old site was outdated and difficult for web surfers to navigate. The school and Purple Monkey worked with parents, faculty, staff and community residents to make the school's new online home more "user-friendly."
Depending on the speed of your computer and web browser, the redesigned site performs up to par.
"We want to make sure information isn't buried so deep that one loses one's way," said Community Relations Director Kay Foran. "It should all be one click away from taking you where you need to be."
The school tallied the cost for the redesign and focus group work at $30,000. The new site will keep its old address: www.oprfhs.org.
Cheney for ASID 2007
There won't be any ASID Showcase tours through Cheney Mansion next year. But a 2007 interior makeover and fall Showcase is now likely. Following a presentation by Infant Welfare Society president Mary Anderson last Thursday evening at the Committee of the Whole meeting of the park board.
Infant Welfare had initiated discussions with the park district in July regarding making the Oak Park landmark its 2006 Showcase House. However it was decided that the myriad scheduling and financial issues required more time to address.
Balling told board members it was staff's recommendation that the park district "proceed with negotiations with the OPRF Infant Welfare Society with the intent of entering into a partnership agreement if all terms are worked out to the satisfaction of both parties."
If it happens, 2007 will be the second time Cheney Mansion has served as the ASID Showcase House. Twenty years ago Cheney Mansion drew 7,500 visitors, well above the 4,000 to 6,000 people who routinely tour the ASID House when it's presented in private homes.
One of the aspects of the 100-year-old building that concerns ASID officials is the antiquated kitchen, which they say will have to be gutted and completely renovated. For their part, park officials noted that any contributions to upgrading Cheney's interior would be a blessing, as they've already earmarked some $140,000 for various "home improvements in 2007 and 2008.
Anderson touched on that benefit in her presentation, saying, "All I can say to you as an Oak Parker is, if it's cleaned up
and maybe a bit more elegant looking, maybe it'd be an even more enticing [prospect] for rental."
Smoke empties ASID gala
Meanwhile, in 2005 ASID Showcase House news, damaged electrical wires connecting the North Euclid Avenue house to a utility pole disrupted the opening gala last Friday night. The 3-story house at 620 N. Euclid was filled with 400 people who paid $75 each as part of a fundraiser for the Infant Welfare Society of Oak Park and River Forest.
When someone noticed the transformer and wires out back smoking, firefighters were called.
"Basically it was an electrical issue," said Oak Park Fire Lt. David Spagnola. "When we realized it had to do with a wire to the house, we called ComEd."
"The problem was a connection at the pole," confirmed Commonwealth Edison spokesman Luis Diaz.
The utility company shut off power to the house, necessitating the evacuation of the people and the catered food to the rear yard, where they remained for the next two hours.
Fire wasn't the main concern, said Spagnola.
"We got everybody out, mainly because it would be dark in an unfamiliar 3-story house," he said. "We didn't want anybody stuck in the dark."
Interested individuals can see the 2005 ASID Showcase House?#34;and its newly repaired electrical wires?#34;through Oct. 2.