After neighbor complaints, Prospect High will screen rooftop units

  • Prospect High School will install screens around two rooftop air handling units on its new natatorium addition, after neighbors across the street complained about noise. Village code also calls for the screening.

    Prospect High School will install screens around two rooftop air handling units on its new natatorium addition, after neighbors across the street complained about noise. Village code also calls for the screening. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/1/2017 8:40 AM

Prospect High School plans to provide screening of two rooftop air handling units on its new natatorium, officials announced Friday, just days after they sought village permission not to have to do it.

The school's $13.5 million, 27,000-square-foot pool addition opened last August with the two rooftop units -- providing dehumidification of the pool and air conditioning to the lobby -- running 24/7. Residents who live near the school -- some as close as 360 feet away on Forest Avenue -- have complained about continuous sound coming from the machines.

 

Mount Prospect zoning code requires screening of the units, which measure 9 feet and 14 feet tall, but Northwest Suburban High School District 214 built the addition without any type of barrier.

Ted Birren, the district's director of operations, said original plans showed landscaping around the air units -- what the district understood as the intent of the village code -- until learning later that actual partitions had to be placed on four sides.

Even still, updates to the original design plan cleared off any type of roof screening, as well as solar panels, in an effort to scale back costs.

Birren and consultants involved in the pool addition project appeared before the village planning and zoning commission last week to ask for a variation from the requirement to screen the rooftop units. Among their arguments: the proposed screen would be attached to the top of the rooftop units, adding weight and the potential for leaks and future roof maintenance issues; the additional $143,000 cost; and the fact no other District 214 pools have screened rooftop units.

But a number of commissioners sought some type of screening to help reduce noise and asked the district to do additional testing on decibel levels. The case was continued to April 27.

Then on Friday, district spokeswoman Jennifer Delgado said the district pulled its variance request and planned some type of screening, though she could not immediately provide more details.

Consuelo Arguilles, Mount Prospect's deputy director of community development, confirmed the district notified the village it would no longer pursue the variation.

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