I want to encourage everyone who can do so to attend a facilities tour at OPRF High School and experience for themselves the spaces identified for replacement by Imagine Project 2. While some contend these areas can be effectively renovated for an undefined and assumed lesser amount, upon walking through the facilities recently, I came away with a better understanding of why renovation is insufficient.
What OPRF needs, and Project 2 delivers, is more square feet to support accessible, inclusive, modern and adaptable physical education and support spaces. Those goals are simply not attainable by updating the existing building, where any change in the dimensions of one space automatically adds or subtracts from the dimensions of another.
For example, increasing capacity in a competition gym for more sideline room or to accommodate spectators necessarily reduces square footage from somewhere else. There is no room to grow within the existing footprint. For a questionable amount of savings, renovation to retain or reduce still limited facilities and functionality is not worth the disruption or the investment.
In terms of Project 2 financing, I trust our elected and empowered school board to make the best decision for the future. As District 200 has not formally decided how to finance Project 2, exploring all available options is the right thing to do and would seem non-controversial. When the pros and cons of all options are well understood, the board can decide which path to take with community input.
The work OPRF needs to accomplish will require significant investment. As residents decided long ago with visionary developments like the field house and stadium, I believe investing in Project 2 will be sustaining for decades to come while continuing the revitalization of a very large reason many choose to live and remain in our communities.
Please see and decide for yourselves by attending a tour of the spaces Project 2 will impact at OPRF High School.
After that, I encourage you to support the D200 administration and school board as they move forward with Project 2.