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posted: 10/17/2012 9:33 AM

Lake Park High School considering pool for East Campus

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Lake Park High School officials are revisiting the possibility of adding a pool to the East Campus.

Superintendent Lynne Panega said the issue has been discussed in previous years, but it re-emerged last month because Lake Park's swim and dive teams are displaced from College of DuPage -- their home site -- due to construction until February 2014. Swimmers temporarily are holding meets at Streamwood High School and divers compete at Hoffman Estates High School.

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District administrators, the school board and a group of parents called People for a Pool are working together to research construction costs. People for a Pool, who also are doing some private fundraising, approached Lake Park officials to revisit the idea last winter.

Panega said if discussions move further, the school board will seek community input.

"We need to get solid figures first," she said. "Over the past 10 to 15 years, we've had several pool feasibility studies conducted, but we wanted to get a new study, just to make sure the costs we are shooting for are up-to-date."

The Daily Herald last reported on a push for a pool in 1996.

Jeff O'Connell, assistant superintendent of business services, said Lake Park recently paid roughly $12,000 to a company called Aquatics Excellence to determine the cost of several pool options at East Campus. The figures from that company range from $5 million to $9 million, O'Connell said. Previously, Lake Park received estimates from another company, Arcon, which put estimates at $7 million to $11 million, he said.

The wide range in price stems from the options Lake Park is exploring, O'Connell said.

"We have looked at more of a traditional high school pool, then added options for a warming and therapeutic pools ... these bring in more of the option of park district use and physical therapy-type organizations," he said.

If Lake Park were to install only a standard competitive swimming pool, it could still be used by physical education classes and outside swim clubs, officials said.

In addition to construction costs, Lake Park officials are looking into the annual price tag for operating and maintaining the pool. Panega and O'Connell said the average cost both companies provided is about $250,000 a year.

"These are big dollars," Panega said.

"We have worked hard to achieve a balanced budget and need to carefully consider all factors including the potential shift of pensions to schools before making any decisions on capital improvement projects of this magnitude," she said.

Thus far, school board members have indicated they do not want a referendum proposal if the pool project moves forward, but they would consider an advisory question on a future ballot, Panega said.

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