Work underway on Prospect High School's $13 million pool project
What looks like a big pile of dirt outside Prospect High School will be transformed into a state-of-the-art swimming pool by the time school starts next year.
Northwest Suburban High School District 214 broke ground on the pool earlier this summer, and Director of Operations Ted Birren said construction on the $13 million project is on track to be completed in August 2016.
"This is the largest single project we have going on right now," Birren said.
Prospect High School opened in 1957 and has never had a swimming pool, so students and the staff are excited about the 27,000-square-foot addition at the Mount Prospect school, Birren said.
The addition will be modeled after the new natatorium at Buffalo Grove High School, an $11 million upgrade completed in 2014. The increase in price between the two projects is the result of changing construction costs, he said.
Prospect's pool will have eight 25-yard lanes along with a movable bulkhead for diving and water polo in the deep end, Birren said.
"It's so accommodating. The bulkhead provides so much flexibility in the space. It really serves the needs of our teams as well as the needs for instruction," he said.
When the pool is completed, all Prospect High School students will do a water safety rotation during their physical education classes.
There also will be a ramp to allow handicapped access for people to walk into the shallow end of the pool, he said. The pool will have a shallow end depth of 4.5 feet, a middle area at 7.5 feet and a deep end of 14.5 feet.
An upper balcony will seat 500 visitors and a lower area will include a concession stand, locker rooms, a storage area and offices for coaches.
The district is pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification for the pool, a recognition of its environmentally friendly design.
"That makes it a very innovative, exciting and progressive space," Birren said.
Prospect High School's swimming, diving and water polo teams have shared a pool with Wheeling High School for years.
Two other District 214 schools, Hersey and Rolling Meadows high schools, also do not have swimming pools. Birren said it's not likely they will be getting pools anytime soon, in part because there is not enough space on either campus to build a pool without causing problems for stormwater detention or athletic fields.
"We would have to give up something to get something," he said.
Money for the project is coming from an extra district reserves. In 2014, district leaders held several community meetings to discuss priorities on how to spend the cash and came up with $45 million in capital improvement projects across its six schools and alternative programs.