The following FAQ was released last week by OPRF High School:

Why not go with the previously considered plan that had two pools — didn’t it meet the same needs?

No. The single 40-meter pool in the District 200 board-approved plan differs in a number of ways from a plan with two smaller pools on opposite sides of the building:

I keep hearing that the previously considered facilities plan with two pools would cost $15 million less. Is that true?

No. The two-pool plan that was considered in August 2016 was estimated to cost $39.9 million. The adopted plan, which includes purchasing the parking garage currently owned by the village of Oak Park in order to build a new 40-meter pool and a new garage on that site, is estimated to cost the district $44.5 million. However, more than $2 million of the garage purchase price is a transfer from one Oak Park taxing body to another to pay off existing debt and is not a new cost to Oak Park taxpayers. The net difference in cost to taxpayers between the two plans is therefore $2.6 million. However, that difference does not take into account the loss of the adaptive gym space. Rebuilding that space elsewhere as part of future projects could cost several million dollars.

Before adoption of the final plan, it was reduced by $9.5 million from the plan presented to the D200 board on Aug. 1. Why can’t the two-pool plan be reduced by the same amount?

Most of the elements that were cut to create the approved plan were already absent from the two-pool plan, so were not available to be cut. The only exception might have been to leave the black box theater in place. However, because the configuration of the two plans differed significantly, the feasible changes that could have been made to the two-pool plan were not comparable. The new classroom space for band and orchestra would have been roughly 1,000 square feet less than in the approved plan, and theater programming would not have had any space to expand. Since there are no comparable changes possible, there are, therefore, no comparable cost reductions available. 

I’ve heard conflicting information about how much the community might get to use the pool in the approved facilities plan. Can you clarify?

Following community meetings to review potential facilities plans in mid-July 2016, we developed an in-depth schedule of potential community use for a single 40-meter pool compared to the facilities plan with two pools that was then under consideration, as well as to the current two pools. (You can find that document on our website.) Community use includes the West Suburban Special Recreation Association (WSSRA), the YMCA’s TOPS swim team, and the Park District of Oak Park swim lessons, lap swim, etc.

I have been hearing conflicting information about the price of the pool and the other elements of the facilities plan. What are the real costs?

During the analysis and deliberation phase, the D200 board considered a great deal of information, all of which remains posted on our website. But now that a plan has been approved, we are working to provide clear information about what is in the plan as it was adopted on Aug. 16. This may differ from earlier information that was included in working documents as the project was being researched and developed.

The total costs remain the same as approved by the board on Aug. 16. Below is an overview of that detailed cost sheet. In addition, we’ve provided a breakdown of costs for the previously considered plan with two pools; the more detailed background document can be found on our website. 

Overview of cost breakdown for approved plan with single 40-Meter pool:

Pool and Support Spaces                        $21.4 million

Garage Demolition and Construction        $10 million

Performing Arts Expansion                       $4.8 million

PE Locker Room Facilities                         $2.8 million

Model Classrooms                                    $1.6 million

Other Repurposed Spaces                         $1.2 million

Total Construction Cost                          $41.8 million

Garage Purchase                                       $ 2.7 million

Total Proposed Cost                                $44.5 million

The plan includes repurposing a portion of the former East Pool space as classroom and Driver Education spaces.

Purchase price was estimated based on the village’s outstanding debt for garage. For Oak Park taxpayers, who compose about 75% of D200 taxpayers, this will not be a new cost but rather an existing cost transferred from one Oak Park taxing body to another. Oak Parkers will have paid off more than 85% of the costs of the high school’s garage since its inception. Approximately 25% of the purchase price will be a new cost to River Forest taxpayers.

Overview of cost breakdown for previously considered plan with two pools:

Pool and Support Spaces                               $22.3 million

Performing Arts Expansion
and Other Repurposed Spaces                        $10.7 million

PE Locker Room Facilities                               $5.3 million

Model Classrooms                                          $1.6 million

Total Construction Cost                               $39.9 million

Deferred Maintenance on Garage                     $270,000

Total Proposed Cost                                     $40.2 million

Why not pay the full cost out of the high school’s fund balance?

The answer to this question, as well as other finance-related information, can be found at http://www.oprfhs.org/facilities/NEW-FAQ-Oct-2016.cfm.

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