Fittest loser
Article updated: 10/30/2012 5:46 PM

Glenbard works out differences on pool use

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Glenbard High School District 87 is giving the Carol Stream Park District $350,000 during the next 10 years -- but perhaps with a different intent than originally proposed.

The payment is in exchange for school district use of the park district's new eight-lane, 25-yard swimming pool inside the recreation center now under construction at the Town Center at Gary Avenue and Fountain View Drive.

Some school board members earlier this month questioned the purpose of the funds -- was it to help defray the costs to build the pool and the rest of the $18 million recreation center, as parks officials originally said? Or was the money to be considered a user fee?

The latter won out -- and such language was included in the final version of an intergovernmental agreement unanimously approved by the school board this week.

The park district board approved the agreement in September.

"The dollars are the same, but the intent is different," said Glenbard board member Tom Voltaggio, who originally expressed concern that the school district might be involved with funding construction of the rec center. "It's using the dollars to use the facility and not to pay for it."

Carol Stream voters approved a $37 million borrowing referendum question to pay for the rec center and other parks programs in February 2010. Voltaggio and board member Mary Ozog argued that residents who pay taxes to both the school and park districts would effectively be paying for the rec center twice.

The agreement was modified to "emphasize" Glenbard's contribution would be for pool usage time, said Chris McClain, Glenbard's assistant superintendent for business services.

"The park district will not charge or assign any indoor pool operational costs to the school district," the agreement states. "The school district's interest under this agreement is not a leasehold interest."

The Glenbard North/East boys and girls swimming teams will be able to use the pool for practices from 5 to 7 a.m. and from 9 to 11 p.m. Glenbard North physical education swimming classes will use the pool from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a 10-day period each semester.

Glenbard West/South girls and Glenbard West boys swim teams could also get use of the pool, though McClain said Glenbard North administrators would schedule the school district's allocated time slots with the park district, with first priority given to North programs.

Pool usage fees from the swim teams could be used for a portion of the school district's annual contribution to the park district, McClain said.

Officials said pools often cost $7 million to build, with another $100,000 in annual operating expenses.

"It's a win-win situation," said Superintendent Dave Larson. "Pools are costly to operate and anytime you can use a pool that you don't own, it's an opportunity."

The agreement is expected to run from June 30, 2013, through June 30, 2023.

Construction of the recreation center is expected to be complete by the fall of 2013.

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