Libertyville High could turn swimming pool into new athletic space

 
 
Updated 8/14/2018 2:06 PM
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  • Officials have proposed converting Libertyville High School's swimming pool, shown here in 2017, into a different athletic space. A new pool is being constructed.

      Officials have proposed converting Libertyville High School's swimming pool, shown here in 2017, into a different athletic space. A new pool is being constructed. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

Libertyville High School's indoor swimming pool would be converted into a wrestling room, a dance studio and space for other physical education programs under a newly unveiled plan.

The work could cost $5 million, and it could begin after construction of a new, $21.5 million natatorium finishes next year.

Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 officials revealed plans for the swimming pool space during a facilities and finance committee meeting Monday. The proposal is preliminary and has not been approved by the school board.

Libertyville High Principal Tom Koulentes led the presentation. It followed a presentation by Vernon Hills High Principal Jon Guillaume and others about a proposed $25.5 million expansion there.

The swimming pool's deck level and the pool itself occupy about 16,000 square feet at the rear of the Libertyville High building. Koulentes and other officials don't want those spaces to go unused after a new $21.5 million pool opens next year on the building's south side.

"That is 16,000 square feet of prime real estate, right in the heart of our campus," Koulentes said.

Leaving the space unused isn't a good use of the building or a good "political" decision, District 128 Superintendent Prentiss Lea said.

The swimming pool deck is on the school's first floor. The plan calls for a floor to built across the area.

It then would be turned into space for wrestling and physical education programs, Koulentes said. The school's wrestling room now is on the lower level.

The pool itself would be reconstructed as a dance studio. Students in dance programs don't have a dedicated space and must practice in the cafeteria.

"It's less than ideal," Koulentes said.

Additionally, a lower-level weight room would be expanded and remodeled.

The facilities committee Monday informally gave administrators and architects permission to proceed with designs.

If the board eventually decides the project should move forward, officials could seek construction bids in January or February. Construction could begin in May and be completed in January or February 2020.

The current pool will be used until the new one is finished, so demolition must wait until then, Lea said.

Funding for the project will come from district savings. That's how the current pool construction is being funded and how the proposed Vernon Hills High expansion would be financed.

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