Oak Park and River Forest is a unique community, in most aspects a terrific one. We are united in the pursuit of so many great things, including care for our neighbors and our world, and in the power of working hard and getting the most out of the things we use and own. We are not a “throw-away” community; we use items until the end of their useful life and then, if possible, try to find a place to recycle them. It is a great mindset.

It is time to turn that mindset to the support of Imagine Project 2. The OPRF High School building that is the subject of Project 2 has gone decades past its useful life. For decades the OPRF’s building team has propped up, or recycled, a failing structure to allow it to continue to support our children’s education. We can no longer put Band-Aids on sections of this century-old building to prop it up for another generation of Oak Park and River Forest children.

Its useful life is simply over. There is no more time to discuss its potential repair or discuss another ideation of how the building should be rebuilt. The Imagine Project’s multi-year community involvement was the time for those discussions. Project 2 is a mindful and prudent plan; it is time to tear down and rebuild this facility and build a structure that can support Oak Park and River Forest for the next century. This building has provided more than 100 years of service. It currently lacks so many needs that we take for granted in our modern era. It is simply stunning that a community such as ours, where we value so many of the right things, especially the people and children in it, would let this cornerstone of our community fall behind the standards of what is currently considered acceptable, including Title IX compliance and ADA compliance, just to name a few.

We can no longer debate or discuss if the time is right to undertake this important community project. The time is now.

Laura Huseby
River Forest

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