Board of Education approves new aquatics center for OPRF

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Photo credit: Jim Jaworski

After two years of discussion, plans have been approved to build a new pool and aquatics center for Oak Park and River Forest High School and surrounding community members.

The new two-story facility will replace the two current pools at the high school, which are 90-years-old and past the typical 40-50 year life span of a competition pool. This new facility will be built where a parking garage sits, at the corner of Lake Street and Scoville Ave. The garage will be removed, and the pool will be connected to the high school via a second-floor corridor.

The Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200 Board of Education’s decision to approve the construction of a new pool was informed by several years of research and a detailed study conducted last fall by a special board committee. Research found that renovating the pools would cost $19 million and would result in reduction in pool size and capacity in order to meet current safety codes.

According to the news release, the approved plans are estimated to cost $37.5 million and will produce a 49,800-square-foot aquatic center with an 11-lane, 50-meter “Olympic-sized” pool. The board approved a resolution to fund the project with up to $20 million from available fund balances plus non-referendum bonds in an amount of up to $17.5 million. The impact for an owner of a $400,000 home will be an additional $76 per year in property taxes.

Construction of the pool is planned to begin in summer 2016, with completion in time for the 2018-2019 school year.

No decision has been made on how to use the space of the two former pools.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Business as usual in Oak Park- how long has the parking lot been there? Now we tear it down. I’m sure there were other options maybe in River Forest perhaps that would have been better than tearing down a parking lot that is well needed near the high school.

  2. I am all in favor of a new pool — the old pools are a hazard and the plan for the new pool is sound — however, I have yet to hear a plan for handling the loss of parking spaces that sounds like anything but a disaster for anyone within a three block radius of the school. Putting all of those cars back on street parking, moving back to the broken system that existed before the garage is not a real solution.

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