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updated: 1/9/2013 5:03 AM

Lake Park residents will vote on pool in April

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Amid applause from a group called People for a Pool, the Lake Park High School board of education passed two measures Tuesday in Roselle that will ask voters on April 9 whether to raise taxes to build and maintain a pool at the East Campus.

The first question will ask whether the district should borrow $8 million to construct a 25-yard-by-59-foot pool and a warming pool with a seating capacity of 350.

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The building housing them would be approximately 18,000 square feet and the warming pool was added to original plans to accommodate community use, officials said.

The second question will ask residents whether to raise taxes so the district can pay roughly $378,000 annually for pool operating costs. This includes expenses like chemicals, natural gas, lifeguards, and a capital improvement fund.

"The board is committed to a balanced budget," said Superintendent Lynne Panega. "It's unfortunate we don't have the finances in-house. So we hare going to have to look to our taxpayers to weigh in on this."

If voters approved both measures, the owner of a $300,000 home would see an annual tax increase of roughly $32, and the owner of a $200,000 home would pay roughly $21.

Board secretary Martin Tasch also said a referendum is the best way to let all residents weigh in on the pool, since requests for it have surfaced intermittently over the past 25 years.

"We have explored every option, every conceivable cost … we've done our due diligence," he said. "We've tried every option other than a referendum to do this, so we are down to the point where we either have a referendum or we don't.

The school board has spent the past 14 months researching the pool anew after a group of residents and parents, who now dub themselves People for a Pool, approached them with a request in November 2011.

The group was concerned because Lake Park's swim and dive team would be displaced this winter 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.

District administrators, the school board and the community group worked together to research construction and operational costs. Part of their work included researching other schools that operate successful pools, even traveling as far as Indiana.

People for a Pool also helped pay for some of the $12,000 feasibility study and plans to do fundraising to offset the cost of the pool, too, organizers said Tuesday.

Board member P.J. Olzen questioned what would happen if voters only approved one of the measures.

Jeff O'Connell, assistant superintendent of business services, said if voters approve borrowing funds to build the pool but not raising taxes to maintain it, the board can vote not to build.

But if voters say Lake Park can raise taxes to maintain the pool, yet do not give permission to borrow money to build it, the money could be used for any operational purposes. This includes expenses like electricity, natural gas or staff benefits and salaries.

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