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D-108 looks to voters to OK pool referendums

For the fourth time, Lake Park High School District 108 in Roselle is seeking voter support for an indoor pool to be built at its east campus.

Bringing the Lake Park Community Aquatic Center to life would require voters pass two referendum measures on their ballots Tuesday: one for construction costs and the other for operations.

“We take great pride in our facilities,” Superintendent Lynne Panega said. “We knew through board discussion and through our own discussion if we were going to bring this back to referendum again, we wanted to do it right.”

The 23,500-square-foot addition would include an eight-lane, 25-yard pool with a diving well, an activity/warming pool, and seating capacity for 330 spectators. It would be used by both students and community members.

The total construction cost for the project is $9.1 million, including $600,000 that will come from existing school district funds and $8.5 million the district hopes to obtain through the referendum, according to district records.

The question will ask voters to allow Lake Park to issue $8.5 million of bonds, which would then be paid off during the next 10 years through an increase in residents’ property taxes, said Jeff O’Connell, assistant superintendent for finance.

The financial impact to taxpayers would be $17.40 annually for a $300,000 home, according to district records.

The second referendum question will be to increase the property tax rate in order to cover annual operational costs of $390,000, causing an additional $20.16 annual increase to the tax bill for a $300,000 home in the district, according to district records.

While the pool project was most recently voted down in April 2013, the prospect of bringing an indoor pool to campus has been discussed for about 30 years, school district officials said.

This time, though, Lake Park partnered with the Bloomingdale, Itasca, Medinah and Roselle park districts to see how the project could benefit them.

The aquatic center will be used year-round by the districts for various programs.

Project features include locker rooms; spaces for offices, meeting rooms and storage; a corridor separating students and the public; northeast and southeast lobby entrances; and family changing rooms with showers.

The warming pool would feature a ramp entrance, shallow ledge and water slide to accommodate community use for activities such as swim lessons and water aerobics.

In addition to the park district uses, the center is expected to be open at specific times daily for community members to swim laps.

Students will be able to use the aquatic center for physical education classes and practices for the school’s swim and dive teams.

Community support for the pool project has been spearheaded by the group People for a Pool.

“Other communities built their pools in the ‘70s, and we’re still debating amongst ourselves whether it’s a good idea,” Roselle resident and group member Barbara Hochstadt said at a public forum about the center March 6. “It’s time.”

However, not all residents agree.

Ed Levato, who serves as Bloomingdale Township supervisor and a committeeman for the township’s Republican Party, questioned why the district is coming to the public with more referendums, when past measures have failed three times.

“I believe that if taxpayers have spoken, government should listen,” Levato said.

If both referendum questions are passed, the indoor aquatic facility would be built by August 2015.

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