We are enthusiastic about Oak Park and River Forest High School’s pro-active plans to shift its energy consumption from fossil fuels to geothermal. It is part of a necessarily ambitious climate plan to first reduce and then eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

But that ambition has seemingly hit a wall as bids for installation of geothermal piping, beginning this summer, came in 37 percent higher than expected. That installation was planned in conjunction with a remaking of outdoor athletic fields scheduled for the summer.

The administration recommended and the school board seems inclined to delay the work until 2024 and then to move forward in a phased process over multiple years.

Disappointing, but a reasonable compromise as taxpayer dollars are in play.

Climate policy and commitments need to be made at a national and international level. But the hard, and expensive, work also needs to take place locally, institution by institution, house by house.

So we commend OPRF for understanding that the only way to get to zero greenhouse emissions is through radical investment in alternative energy sources. Changing out light fixtures is a fine thing. Energy efficient windows are good. But it is not the substantial change that is essential.

So delay, regroup, phase-in, but keep this critical institution focused on the worthy goal.

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