I’m writing to urge the District 200 school board to move forward with the planned athletic facilities upgrades at Oak Park and River Forest High School. I’d also strongly encourage families in our community — especially those with children in elementary or middle school — to learn what’s being proposed and consider sharing support, ideas and questions with the board.

Why eighth grade and younger? Because if this badly needed construction work goes forward as planned, those are the families who will benefit most and soonest. The students in our feeder elementary and middle schools will be the first to enjoy these badly-needed upgrades and improvements.

To many of us who have current students at OPRF High School, or who have already had a chance to tour the school facilities, the need for renovations is obvious. The PE/athletics spaces are crumbling, ill-suited to what students need, and long past their useful life. Many other suburban school districts have long ago upgraded their facilities; our lack of action makes us an outlier. The time to prioritize these needs is long overdue.

But don’t take my word for it. This summer, the high school will be offering tours of the current PE/athletic facilities. Go see, firsthand, these century-old spaces, and get a sense of how they simply can’t support 21st century learning. Administrators and faculty who work in these spaces every day will explain the planned renovations and the positive outcomes they will help produce. You’ll be able to ask questions, make your own judgments about the upgrades and how they will impact your family.

And then I hope you’ll join me in urging the D200 school board to approve this project.

Matt Kruse
Oak Park

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