Oak Park and River Forest High School has set a target date of 2017 to complete construction of a new pool facility to replace the current aged and outdated campus pools.

The District 200 School Board Finance Committee on Monday discussed the latest draft plans, designs and preliminary costs for the two site options on the table — the village-owned parking garage on Lake Street and Scoville Avenue, and the site just north of the football stadium on part of the athletic field. 

Price estimates varied depending on the site, the size and the amenities but ranged from $20 million to $70 million.

Representatives from Legat Architects and Henry Bros. Construction, the firms which will handle design and construction, presented the updated plans. The committee agreed to move those plans forward to the full board for further discussion and analysis. 

The firms presented a tentative timeline for construction and completion. The groundbreaking for a new facility would not happen until next year, with another two years of construction before the facility is completed.

Committee members and consultants stressed that nothing has been finalized and that the draft plans and costs are only conceptual at this point.  Eight design options were offered at prices ranging from $20 million to nearly $70 million. That “sticker shock” was noted by several committee members. Finance committee Chair Tom Cofsky noted that the cost range could actually start below $20 million if the school decides to build the most basic facility to meet the school’s needs. But that, he noted, also needs further discussion.  

Committee member Jeff Weissglass said that any bare-boned facility would raise the question of why not just fix the current pools. But the existing pools are not only old but not up to code, said Robert Zummallen, OPRF’s director of buildings and grounds. Committee members acknowledged that fact, noting that fixing up the current 85-year-old pools is likely no longer a viable option.  

Committee member Ralph Lee said it was good that the firms laid out all the various designs and estimated costs, which will help the board during its deliberations. 

The two firms showed some creativity in coming up with its various design options. A new pool facility, wherever it’s built, will have upper deck bleacher seating, new locker rooms and up-to-date mechanics and equipment.

The plan is still to build a stretch pool with at least 11 lanes, though some of the designs called for a larger “Olympic-style pool,” which would mean higher construction costs.  One idea for the parking garage site involves building an underground parking location with 100 vehicle spots and constructing the pool facility on top of that. 

Committee numbers and the firm’s reps noted the high costs and difficult logistics with that option. For the athletic field site, one option involves shifting the field north to accommodate a pool facility next to the football stadium. That would result in the tennis courts being relocated to the upper level of that facility. But there’s one glitch with that option — the tennis court space is actually larger square footage-wise than the lower pool area itself. The solution there would be to build support beams on the lower level to support the tennis courts up top.

The full D200 board is schedule to discuss the firms’ report at its regular meeting on Thursday. 

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