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updated: 4/1/2013 9:29 AM

Dist. 108 voters to decide fate of pool proposal

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New plans have surfaced to build an indoor swimming pool at Lake Park High School, despite multiple failed attempts over the past two decades.

This spring, a group of residents and parents is hoping to convince Lake Park High School District 108 voters to support an indoor pool by emphasizing the facility would be used for much more than high school athletics.

"I think a major difference is the fact the school has committed to having the pool available for use by the community," said Lisa Gregor, president of People for a Pool. "Our community would benefit from the facility and people believe they will have the use of the facility."

There will be two pool-related referendum questions on the April 9 ballot. The first will ask for permission to borrow $8 million to build the facility. The second will ask for a tax rate increase to cover the estimated $380,000 needed annually to operate it.

If both requests are approved, the owner of a $300,000 house would pay about $32 a year more to District 108, officials estimate. The owner of a $200,000 would pay about $21 more annually. The $8 million construction loan would be paid off over 10 years, officials said.

The 18,210-square-foot pool building would be built at Lake Park's east campus in Roselle. It would include an eight-lane, 25-yard-by-59-foot pool, a four-lane warming pool and seating for 350.

Superintendent Lynne Panega said a considerable amount of research went into the pool design.

"We felt this would address not only our internal programming needs, but the community's needs as well," she said.

The warming/teaching pool, for example, was added to accommodate use by the community for activities such as swim lessons and water aerobics.

In order for the pool to be built, officials say, voters must approve both ballot questions.

"If one fails, we will not move forward," Panega said.

Meanwhile, supporters are trying to overcome a long history of failed proposals.

In 1991, the District 108 school board voted against using reserve cash to build an indoor swimming pool. Six years later, voters overwhelmingly rejected a plan for a facility at Lake Park's west campus. Other suggestions that never materialized include a 2005 proposal that called on District 108 to form a coalition with several villages and park districts to construct a pool.

"The issue of a pool has continually emerged among parents and community groups alike," Panega said.

The idea of an indoor is being floated again because of People for a Pool.

The group approached school board members in November 2011 with concerns about Lake Park's swim and dive team being displaced through February 2014 from College of DuPage -- their home site -- due to renovations to COD's pool facility.

This past season, swimmers practiced at Streamwood High School, and divers practiced at Hoffman Estates High School.

In the meantime, the swimming and diving teams have never had a true home meet. COD is a 20-minute drive for the Lake Park athletes.

Complicating matters further is the fact COD's new pool facility won't have a diving well.

"We would not be able to house our diving program there," Panega said. "So the choice would be to utilize another facility, (form a) co-op, or disband. Disbanding the diving team is not something that we would like to see happen."

While it's important for the school to have a facility, Gregor said it's vital for the community to have an indoor pool because none of the area park districts have one.

"If you wanted to take swimming lessons in the winter or you want your kids to take swimming lessons, you can go to the Addison Park District, Elk Grove Park District or the Schaumburg Park District," she said. "But there is nothing within the school's borders as far as indoor aquatics is concerned."

As a result, Panega says there has been "strong support" for the pool plan from park districts within District 108's boundaries. The school district educates students from Bloomingdale, Roselle, Itasca, Medinah, Keeneyville, Wood Dale and Hanover Park.

"Not only would it benefit Lake Park from a programming perspective," Panega said, "but there's a strong community component as well through the park districts."

The specifics of how each of the park districts would use the facility still needs to be determined. That discussion would be the next step, if the ballot questions are successful.

"Hopefully, we'll get a 'yes' vote on the construction and operational (costs)," Panega said. "That's when we would sit down with the park districts and develop a community plan involving the park districts."

The bottom line, Gregor says, is that all District 108 taxpayers could benefit if the long-sought indoor pool finally is built.

"All these park districts will have a place to offer aquatics during the winter," Gregor said. "It's about being able to have water aerobics, swimming lessons and other types of aqua fitness. There's just so much you could do with a swimming pool. It's not about the swim team."

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