Board approves revised facilities plan and bond-issue ballot question

August 17, 2016

Last evening the Board of Education unanimously adopted a five-year pool and facilities plan, replacing a previous version that was presented to the Board for approval on Aug. 1. At that time the Board directed the administration and Legat Architects to reduce the plan’s cost by roughly 15%, to no more than $45 million.

The new plan still calls for replacing the 88-year old pools with a new 40-meter pool and garage on the site of the current garage, improving learning spaces, adding classrooms to accommodate a more than 20% growth in performing arts class enrollment, and renovating locker rooms to mitigate health and safety issues.  The plan also includes a few learning spaces whose specific use still is being developed; a priority is addressing classroom space needs of theatre and chorus. Overall, the newly approved plan is projected to cost $44.5 million.

As has been previously announced, the Board intends to finance the project with $20 million in cash and a bond issue. At last night’s meeting the Board approved a referendum question to be placed on the Nov. 8, 2016, ballot, seeking the community’s approval for a bond issue of up to $25 million. The ballot question reads as follows:

Shall the Board of Education of Oak Park and River Forest Consolidated High School District Number 200, Cook County, Illinois, build and equip a swimming pool addition to replace the existing 88-year-old swimming pools at the Oak Park and River Forest High School Building; alter, repair and equip said School Building to improve the learning, performing arts and locker room spaces therein; improve the site thereof; build and equip a parking garage to replace the existing parking garage; and issue bonds of said School District in an amount not to exceed $25,000,000 for the purpose of paying costs thereof?

According to estimates provided by William Blair & Company, for an Oak Park resident with a median home value of $362,000, the expected tax impact would be an increase of up to $90 in property taxes per year. For a River Forest resident with a median home value of $530,700, the expected tax impact would be an increase of up to $136 in property taxes per year.

Detailed information about the OPRF Pool and Facilities Project is available at facilities.oprfhs.org.