Northwest Suburban High School District 214 last week approved $11 million in renovations to the Buffalo Grove High School pool -- a major overhaul for the 40-year-old aquatic center.
The renovations are part of the district's facilities and maintenance budget for the 2013-14 school year, though with only three pools for its six high schools, some have questioned why the district is choosing to upgrade an old pool rather than build a new one in another school.
Rolling Meadows, Prospect and Hersey high schools do not have swimming pools, leaving their swimming, diving and water polo teams to practice either at another District 214 school or at the Arlington Heights Park District's Olympic Aquatic Center. Swimming is not a part of physical education at the schools without pools.
"There are several reasons why the administration is not recommending adding an additional pool with the use of these funds," Superintendent Dave Schuler recently told the school board. "First of all, it is not clear (what are) the costs associated with building a new pool built to District 214 standards, attaching it to an existing facility, and running all the necessary mechanicals, piping, and utilities from the existing facility to the pool,"
Such a project would not be feasible without significant spending reductions elsewhere, he added.
Schuler said he had heard from a few families concerned that their school did not have a pool, which he called a "fair" concern.
"You can't argue with the fact that at surrounding districts all the schools have pools," he said.
A few parents raised the issue before the school board this month, saying the current setup is unfair for the schools without a pool and an inconvenience for athletes.
Whether or not the district decided to build another pool, Schuler said there are $4.5 million in renovations at the Buffalo Grove pool that need to be done and have been in the plans for years.
Officials are still working on exact plans, but Schuler said the work will include a deeper diving well, which is required by code, and expanding the pool from six to eight lanes.
Construction will start in the summer and take a little over a year, during which time Buffalo Grove teams will practice at another District 214 facility. The pool will be reopened for the 2014 fall swimming season, officials said.
"It'll be incredible. It's really exciting to be a part of the planning process," said Jamie Klotz, head boys swimming coach. "It'll be amazing for the team and the community." The Buffalo Grove Park District also uses the high school pool.