In my previous Viewpoints letter on OPRF’s Project 2 [Opponents of OPRF’s Project 2 are not anti-pool, Feb. 1], I wrote that we opponents favor a pool of standard high school competition size over the proposed pool for four main reasons:
• The proposed pool is unnecessarily large, and therefore
• Unnecessarily expensive
• Undemocratically financed, unless the full amount comes from referendum bonds or from the still-enormous and infamous District 200 cash reserve.
The Project 2 pool would be 10 lanes, 25 x 40 yards. A standard high school competition pool is 20 x 25 yards and 8 lanes.
• Per the Illinois High School Association (IHSA), a competition pool must have a minimum of 6 swim lanes (7-feet wide) in 25-yard lengths. This would give us a pool that is 15 x 25 yards.
• Stantec consulting engineers in 2013 said OPRF’s existing 11 lanes are a luxury for a high school. Per Stantec, eight lanes are the accepted standard size for a high school competition pool. A pool of this size is 20 x 25 yards, allowing room for bumpers.
The high school would have you believe that a pool of this size is needed so that it can hold two swimming classes in one period. But this many classes wouldn’t be needed if D200 didn’t require all students to complete two sessions of swimming. OPRF could allow students who can pass a swimming test to opt out of classes. More than half of OPRF students enter high school already able to swim.
Regarding cost, Project 2’s proposed $100 million-plus price tag is due mainly to the need to tear down and reconstruct part of the building to make room for the new pool. A pool of standard size would fit within the footprint of the existing, structurally sound building and cost much less. It is true that other high schools have built pools of Project 2’s proposed size. But these high schools had the space for them without the need for a similar demolition and rebuild.
This Thursday, 2/23, the D200 board will vote to approve Project 2. (No date has been set yet to vote on its financing.) If you believe that plans should be revised to include a new pool of standard size, please email the board (email@example.com) and say so. If you also believe that taxpayers deserve the opportunity to vote on this controversial project, please also share this with the board and finance committee (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Oak Park and River Forest High School Competition Pool Upgrade/Relocation Study, March 2013, Stantec Consulting Services Inc. See pp 1.1 and 1.2. https://campussuite-storage.s3.amazonaws.com/prod/1558748/bd01c7ae-765f-11e9-9402-0a56f8be964e/1931838/73c91954-7e05-11e9-8f73-12caf8ac05c6/file/StantecPoolReportMarch2013pdf.pdf
- “Approximately 20-30% of OPRF students are either non-swimmers or struggling swimmers when they enter our classes.” https://www.oprfhs.org/about/pool-faq. The later reference to a swim test pertains to standards for lifeguards, not simple skills necessary to prevent drowning.