Our family loves chlorine. Our oldest daughter competes on the OPRF High School swim and water polo teams, our middle daughter is on the OPRF synchronized swim team, and our seventh-grade daughter swims with the Millennium club team. Soggy swimsuits and wet towels are part of our everyday life. Not surprisingly, we fully support Project 2, which includes a new pool to replace the decaying pools from 1928.
But our daughters’ penchant for the pool is a small part of why we want Project 2 to become a reality. On a recent tour of the building, we saw firsthand the outdated physical education spaces. The dilapidated locker rooms are embarrassing; low ceilings, poor lighting, and safety hazards abound in the gyms; and the dismal state of the elevator and ADA-compliant ramps is simply jaw-dropping. Project 2 focuses on a new physical education (PE) wing that would address all these issues.
Also of critical importance, Project 2 would serve every student at OPRF because every student must have six PE credits to graduate. That’s six semesters of fitness, dance, individual sports, team sports, self-defense, and swimming. All of our children deserve to earn these credits in updated, safe and accessible spaces.
How much will Project 2 cost? This information is easily accessible on the OPRF High School website. In the “About” tab, click on “Facilities Master Plan” and you’ll find a wealth of information. According to the “Project 2 FAQ” posted there, the cost for Project 2 is $102 million. Of that, approximately $21.5 million is for the pool. That means the pool accounts for roughly 20% of the cost. Not all of it, not even most of it, but 20%. Put another way, 80% of the cost is not for the pool.
As the District 200 Board of Education now decides how to fund Project 2, let’s keep healthy debate in proportion, as we’ve tried to do here. Letters to the editor can be 350 words. Thus, we allotted 70 words (20%) to the pool in the first paragraph. But Project 2 — thankfully, and rightfully — is about so much more.
Carl & Ann Kreiter