1. OPRF’s existing pools need to be replaced, they are beyond their service life

At issue is how much to spend on pools, parking garages, taxation and the core academic mission of the high school.

2. The referendum’s language hides the true project cost

This is a $44.5M project. The project would be funded by the $25M bond issue (raising our taxes for 20 years), and $20M of our overtaxed dollars in the school’s cash reserve.

3. Calling this a facilities referendum is misleading

$2.7M would be spent on the performing arts, one band room and one orchestra room, and $1.6M would be spent on six model classrooms (i), while $37.3M would be spent on a 40-meter pool (ii). By the financials, this is a pool plan.

4. New pools for OPRF do not require a new building and a wasteful new parking garage

The school board’s plan would house a new pool in a newly constructed building. Making room for this new building would waste $12.6M to purchase, demolish and rebuild the existing structurally sound parking garage (iii) with 25 years of service life remaining according to the school board’s engineers (iv). The smaller new garage would hold 20% fewer cars. The existing garage was built with capacity to accommodate another level of parking (v). It could be utilized for classrooms or other future needs of the school.

5. There is a greener, less costly plan that reuses the existing building and parking garage

The school board’s architects developed an alternate plan to build new pools in the existing building and preserve the existing parking garage.

This pragmatic pool plan will provide a new deep competition pool that brings diving back on campus, seating for 300, and a new water safety pool, all within the existing building. These new pools meet the school’s aquatic needs and increase community pool usage. It also includes upgrades for the performing arts, learning spaces, and costs at least $15 million less (vi).

6. The $12.6M question

Is it better to spend $12.6M on a new parking garage, or reuse that money saved through the pragmatic pool plan on the school’s core academic mission?

Once a top school, OPRF is 36th in US News and World Report’s recent Illinois high school rankings (vii). A school’s academic ranking, and not a new pool, increases property values in its community.

For example, District 87 recently completed a $15M science building at Glenbard West High School (viii). An investment in academics is an investment in one’s school and community.

7. More tax increases are coming

District 97 operational referendum (April 2017) (ix). District 200 operational referendum (2021-2023) (x).

8. Voting No in NOvember does not mean no new pools, nor support for performing arts

Vote No to send the school board the message that you want the cost-effective, pragmatic pool plan for our high school. Restore aquatic perspective at OPRF and refocus on the core mission: academic success for all students.

Gina Sennello is a member of OPRF Pragmatic Pool Solutions.


i. Here’s the link that shows by line item what was cut from Plan B and what the new expenditure is in the revised Plan B (the final plan approved by the school board on Aug. 16). The performing arts expenditure had been $5.8M. It was cut and is now only $2.7M. The model classroom expenditure was uncut and remains $1.6M. Combined, these two items total $4.3M.


ii. In the Aug. 16 meeting minutes linked above, the chart shows that the expenditure for the 40-meter pool and associated building totals $37.3M.

iii. In the Aug. 16 meeting minutes linked above, the garage costs include purchase, construction and contingency fees. The demolition cost of the garage is not included as a line item and was included in the pool construction cost. 

https://intranet.oprfhs.org/ board-of-education/board_ meetings/Special_Meetings/ Packets/2016-17/20160816% 20SPEC%20Packet/Plans%20and% 20Facilities.pdf

Yet, a cost to demolish the parking garage was listed in the 6/30/2015 contract with Henry Bros. to build an Olympic-sized, 50-meter pool. Although this figure was for that project, the demolition costs should be consistent. If anything, the cost may be higher as there is no contingency fee associated with the number, and demolition costs may have risen since June 2015. This demolition cost is listed at $642,000. The total garage cost, then, would be $12.6M.


iv. http://www.oprfhs.org/facilities/Frequently-Asked-Questions.cfm, cited 27 Sep 2016. A May 2016 engineering report found that the garage needs an estimated $271,000 in repairs. If these are done and then annual inspections and maintenance are performed, the garage can be expected to last another 25 years.  

v. http://www.oprfhs.org/facilities/Frequently-Asked-Questions.cfm, cited 27 Sep 2016. The existing parking garage was designed to accommodate one more level of parking. The additional level would be the same as it is now: half of the parking would be on a sloped ramp and the other half on a flat platform.

vi. The only way to make a true cost comparison between original Plan A (the pragmatic pool plan) and revised Plan B (the school board’s plan on the ballot) is to focus on the pool component of the plans, since this is, in fact, a pool project, and 84% of the price tag of the school board’s pool plan will go to the building of a brand new building, in order to house an oversized pool. The school board made cuts to its plan without making similar cuts to the pragmatic pool plan. Therefore, the remaining 16% of the costs of the board’s plan can’t be compared to original Plan A without similar cuts to its programs.

The school board’s pool plan on the ballot = $37.3M*

The pragmatic pool construction = $22.3M** 

$15M difference.

*School board’s pool on the ballot cost listed in the Aug. 16 Meeting Agenda memo (linked above).

**Pragmatic pool cost listed in the July comparison sheet.


 vii. http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/illinois/rankings, cited 27 Sep 2016. 

 viii. http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20160821/news/160829851/

 ix. http://www.op97.org/news/District-97-Board-of-Education-Announces-Intent-to-Run-a-Referendum-in-April-2017.cfm  

 x. http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/9-20-2016/Why-we-should-use-bonds-for-the-new-OPRF-pool/?utm_campaign=RSS&utm_medium=RSS&utm_source=RSS

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