As construction continues on a 90,846-square-foot recreation center at the Town Center in Carol Stream, is it possible some residents could be paying for it two times over?
That's the question two members of the Glenbard High School District 87 board are asking in light of a proposal from the Carol Stream Park District that would give the school district use of the facility's new eight-lane, 25-yard swimming pool in exchange for picking up a portion of construction costs.
Glenbard would pay the park district $350,000 over a 10-year term to use the pool for Glenbard North physical education swimming classes and Glenbard North/East swimming team practices.
Park officials have said the money would be used to help defray the cost of the $18 million rec center project, which is the marquee project of a $37 million parks improvement program approved by voters in a February 2010 referendum question.
At a school board meeting this week, members Mary Ozog and Tom Voltaggio questioned whether those who pay taxes to both the park and school districts would effectively be paying for it twice.
"It feels like they're getting frosting on the cake from the bond issue," Ozog said. "If they're looking for another $350,000 from us on top of what they already issued ... it's already tax dollars paying for the project."
Added Voltaggio, "A quarter of our district is already paying for this building with their tax dollars, and now we're dedicating our tax dollars. If I live in Carol Stream, I'd be concerned if I'm seeing a duplication."
Voltaggio said he wouldn't be opposed to the arrangement with the park district if the payment is considered a user fee, though he acknowledged it's up to the park district how it chooses to use the money.
"My concern is I would not like to be perceived as being part of the construction process as part of the funding," he said. "It's not our goal to build a facility for the Carol Stream Park District."
Chris McClain, Glenbard's assistant superintendent for business services, said he could tell park district officials that the school district's contribution should be considered a user-based fee.
Ozog also questioned how equitable the agreement would be, since a proposed use schedule primarily includes pool times for North physical education classes during the day, and North/East swimming team practices in the early morning and afternoon. The district's other swim teams -- the Glenbard West boys team and the West/South girls team -- might only be able to use the pool from 9 to 11 p.m.
McClain said there are distance and use/availability issues for students at South and West, but he is looking into finding other venues for them in closer proximity to their schools.
Ozog said she was "not pleased about South and West being shut out if it's our district money going toward this."
The park district board approved the agreement last month. The school board is expected to vote on it Oct. 29.