.

Does District 219 Need a $15 Million Pool?

District 219 asks for new bids to contain costs at Niles North aquatic center.

Plans for a new aquatic center at Niles North High School will go out for a second set of bids after the first price quotes came in at almost $15 million, about $1.85 more than the district expected.

The Niles Township High School District 219 school board agreed to ask for new bids for general trade work, electrical components and work and mechanical components and work after bids in those three areas exceeded original estimates.

Earlier: Former principal hired as consultant

Christine Olseon of Legat Architects, which designed the 52,000-square-foot project, said she hopes the rebidding, with clarification on what the district is asking for in the revised bid documents, will result in lower bid figures.

The district changed the bid specifications slightly in all three areas, by, for example, not specifying certain brands of lighting fixtures but leaving the bid process open to all manufacturers that meet the standards called for. The rooftop condensers and mechanical units have been combined to create a simpler system, and several items in the general trades contract have been simplified or eliminated, according to a memo from Paul O’Malley, the assistant superintendent for business services, to the superintendent and school boards.

Representatives from Legat Architects and District 219 will meet with potential bidders to explain the changes, O’Malley said, and new bids were due Feb. 13. The school board is scheduled to approve all the winning bids at its meeting Feb.27.

The pool project, slated to start construction this year, has long been included on the district’s facilities plan.

At the same time, the school board decided to postpone taking action on a contract to build a new inflatable structure over the 10 new outdoor tennis courts along Oakton Street on the Niles West campus. The district had estimated that an air-filled structure would cost about $450,000, but bids came in at about $800,000.

O’Malley’s office suggested that the district add building the structure to the responsibilities of a “tennis provider” with whom the district plans to contract to provide tennis programs.

The school board tabled that proposal. 

 

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Alex February 20, 2012 at 05:20 PM
This is just crazy, do you really need a 15 million dollars for a pool,, this isnt a win win situation, the only people who suffer are the tax payers, why cant they do something for the taxpayers and try to decrease the crime in this town
Gags February 20, 2012 at 05:34 PM
@Jon Schneider...it's not just Skokie in the district.Niles Township CHSD 219 spent $22,489 per student in the 2009-10 school year, compared to an statewide average of $15,323 among similarly sized districts yet we are not even on the top 50 list for Illinois high schools ! I dont think this will keep Skokie or the rest of 219 "vibrant" . People are already looking elsewhere for a home due to the high taxes created by Dist. 219. Over 86 % of their budget comes from US in real estate taxes. Look at your bill. I think they need to clean house at the Admin and board level and start getting the district up in actual academics. This is a joke.
Gags February 20, 2012 at 05:40 PM
@ Scot Holtz....it's funny that we pay an attorney to get our tax asessments down to a more fair level on our home...and then WE PAY their attorney to try and negate what OUR attorney gets us in relief !
M. Kim Jr. February 20, 2012 at 07:05 PM
This type of spending that does not reflect the community's needs and wishes starts at the grammar school level - http://mortongrove.patch.com/articles/district-67-threatend-by-drastic-cuts-06238157. It is time to start telling these people no.
John Frendreis February 20, 2012 at 11:21 PM
A good case can be made for this pool – assuming that you believe in having facilities for public education. Like all other area high schools, Niles North has a pool, which is used by all 2400 students for physical education and 150 athletes who participate each year in boys and girls swimming and diving. The North facility is the least functional of all of these high school pools with extremely limited seating, an inadequate ventilation system, and insufficient depth to permit diving. I am a certified USA swimming official, and I can say flatly that it is one of the worst swimming venues I have seen. This is an issue of age and inadequate design, not maintenance. While the cost is a large number, it is not exorbitant for such facilities. In addition to PE classes and the current teams, the new pool will be used by the district club team , new interscholastic water polo teams, and a growing district sponsored learn to swim program. While some may question the need for aquatics, there are few athletic endeavors that have as great a potential as aquatics for saving children’s lives through the prevention of drowning. By the way, I am also a district tax payer, and while my son has been a varsity swimmer at North for the last four years, he will never compete in this new facility. Nevertheless, I support strongly the decisions of the district Board and Administration to move this project forward for the benefit of the current and future children of District 219.
Ruth H February 21, 2012 at 02:01 AM
@ John Frendreis Here is what you are leaving out - does Niles North really need to spend $15 million for a pool? Do they need to build something with all the bells and whistles? MORE IMPORTANTLY - how many teachers are going to lose their job over this pool because there isn't enough funding? Will the admistrators lose their jobs? no. The teachers will. And they will cut from core classes. Also, if we need a new pool so bad, then why is North's swim / dive team so great? Please, explain that. The next District 219 meeting is on February 27th. I SAY WE PACK THAT BOARD MEETING AND HAVE OUR VOICES HEARD!
Cindy Gonzalez Latin February 21, 2012 at 02:49 AM
I don't want my taxes to go up any more than the next person but if you compare our taxes to the taxes of our neighboring communities (Evanson, Wilmette, Glenview...), Skokie is a veritable bargain. Niles North is in desparate need of a new aquatics facility and for the record, the community is already using the pool. There are a growing number of under-served youths in this community that need a place to learn water safety and swimming. Remember, we do live near a very large body of water. As taxpayers we need to keep all of public facilities, (new police station anyone?) especially our schools, in safe, working order. I don't recall hearing much argument when the Skatium was updated. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad it was, but my guess is that WAY less kids learn to skate as learn to swim at Niles North. One way or another you WILL pay, if the schools are inadequate then guess what suffers? -- that's right YOUR property values. Strong schools = strong community! My husband and I strongly support the capital improvement of a new aquatics facility for Niles North High School, not because it would be good for our kid (he is a graduating senior) but for ALL Niles North students and our community. We urge the Board of Education to continue moving forward on this very important project.
John Frendreis February 21, 2012 at 03:55 PM
As a point of clarification for several of the people who have commented, spending on things like the aquatics facility, new labs, fine arts facilities, health and safety improvements, and classroom renovation is drawn from the capital budget, which is used to build or maintain the physical plant. This is entirely separate from the operating budget, which pays for salaries, benefits, supplies, and other items needed to provide current services. As a result, there is no relation between capital expenditures and teacher salaries. So no teachers will "lose their jobs" if the pool is constructed, and no new teachers will be hired if this badly needed new facility is halted based on this misperception.
grandpa February 21, 2012 at 05:29 PM
It's for "underserved youth" and "for the children" so damn the cost and squeeze some more tax dollars out of the citizens!
Gina February 21, 2012 at 05:37 PM
family taxpayers foundation, look it up and see how much the principals and superintedent makes. Also look up and see how much the teachers make. Go on the schools webpage and see how many chiefs they have to take care just one building. I neighbor has a daughter at Niles North and she told they turn down the lights while teaching so they can save on electricity. But they have money for the pool. dist 219 is one of the highest paid salaries in the USA. But that's ok because the tax payers paying and it is for "our kids".
Cindy Gonzalez Latin February 21, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Some people are clearly missing the meaning of "capital improvement". There is NO relation between capital expenditures and teacher salaries.
grandpa February 21, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Some people are clearly missing that "public money" comes out of private pockets.
Brad Johnson February 22, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Sorry to u penny pinching reagon lovers but the district has money on hand that isn't being used. What's the problem of using money that's been collected already?
grandpa February 22, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Here's a radical thought. If the district has money on hand that isn't being used, how about giving it back to the taxpayers? After all, it IS THEIR money, not the school districts'.
Paul Young February 22, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Brad what does President Reagan have to do with this? How about another radical idea, why don't they keep the money to the side as a reserve in case a real problem comes up so they don't have to raise our taxes every two-three years. I like a spirited debate as much as the next person, but when the arguments start including political affiliation, maybe those people ought to not post and leave the debate to the adults.
Brad Johnson February 22, 2012 at 03:27 AM
I used president reagan as a stand in for the ultra conservatives because they usually perceive him to be there one stop hand book on all things conservative. But bringing him up did get this off topic. So to address your main concern which is why don't they just save the money? Well guess what they have been doing that and refuse to spend it. They half over 100 million saved up in a slush fund that isnt being used but they still want more. Money collected is money that should be used. There is not a disaster or emergency that will require that amount of money. Look back to newspaper clippings from the 1970s and maybe earlier. People have been fighting this school board over the issue of funds for years and how they are utilized. I am in no way supporting the idea of wasting money or taking it from the tax payers. However, since we have the money on hand we should be utilizing it or else it is just being wasted. instead of getting up in arms over why they shouldn't pay we should be asking why the should. If they already have our money, spend it! Don't raise the taxes for stuff that they have. The school board in D219 borders on corruption and unprofessionality. Lets look back at a fund fact from D219. they said that they would stop charging students a five dollar fee to use the bus system for field trips if the tax payers passed a tax raise. Guess what the fee still exists. We need to take owner ship of our board and make them pay for school improvement to use money safely.
Brad Johnson February 22, 2012 at 03:38 AM
yes lets give back the money instead of actually spending it on things that should be fixed. These funds were originally collected for a purpose and we now have a use for them. We need to spend our money that we have instead of raising taxes. I don't want to raise new funds that aren't needed but i don't want to waste funds that already exist or suggest a preposterous idea such as giving the funds back. I'm sorry grandpa but you seem like a hard lined conservative that doesn't really understand the economy. I've read your other comments and you feel that schools should fail due to poor economic decisions. You understand that the school system is an arm of our government don't you? When has the unrestricted free market actually worked?
Suburban Steve February 22, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Does Niles North need a new pool? Yes, upgrades need to be made there. It is like swimming in a dungeon. Should tax payers be asked to shoulder a $15 million burden to make it so? Absolutely, not. This facility does not need to be state of the art, with 8 lanes, seating for 500, and two types of diving platforms. It will take years for the district to re-coup the cost by having outside groups rent out the facility. By that time, it will be crumbling and in need of more work = additional dollars needed from the public yet again. Let's work on cutting the salaries of the top-heavy administration first -- take the money from there if you desire such an over-the-top "natatorium".
Alex February 23, 2012 at 06:50 AM
I'm sorry , but do you pay any property taxes by any chance, do you know how much its gone up, did you also know that not everyone living in skokie can have their property taxes go up, especially for nonsense like this, ...?
Jon Schneider February 23, 2012 at 04:36 PM
I can tell you that I am extremely glad you did not buy property in Skokie either. That's how remain so nice and affable! High School, in your mind, apparently is only there to prepare high school students to work in IT or high tech. No reason for physical fitness, athletics, literature, history or the arts. Sounds like a plan. Perhaps you should run for school board in your own community and implement your plan rather than trolling Skokie's website.
OnePercentAndProud February 23, 2012 at 07:50 PM
So you don't want wealthy indivduals buying property in skokie? Wow. Ok. My feelings aren't hurt. I'd much rather have my feelings offended than my checkbook! So are you going to run away from the question? How will a 15 million dollar swimming pool prepare a kid for medical, law or whatever school? Well, I'm waiting YAAwnnn. Are you said was bahhhhhbahh. So sheepish. Capital expenditures can be reallocated to the teachers and students. I get all kind of tax breaks I really don't need, but heck if my accountants find a way to save me money why not. Anyway, God bless you Jon and all the Skokie residents. My heart goes out to you all. I'm just glad I'm not a Skokie resident trapped their in tax purgatory. Yawn!
OnePercentAndProud February 23, 2012 at 08:21 PM
My freinds said maybe my question was overly complicated for jon. So here is a simplified version. How will a $15,000,000.00 swimming pool increase ACT or SAT scores? Please don't hurt yourself By thinking too hard. OMG LOL so hard again I'm crying! Whew! I need some tissue. Hahahaha!
Dan February 23, 2012 at 08:21 PM
onepercentandproud, who are you trying to kid? We all know that you just post these snarky and rude comments because you have no real insight to show and you pretend to show off something that you don't have. How about posting something that is actually useful. Thank you.
Jon Schneider February 23, 2012 at 08:29 PM
It is well known that active engaged kids outperform disaffected uninvolved kids in school. Improving facilities promotes more involvement and helps the overall school spirit and community. I suppose you could argue that painting the walls doesn't lead to improved test scores either 1%. Nor does updating other facilities like bathrooms, but if we send our kids to an obsolete run down facility, we will find young families who may actually be 1%ers choosing to move elsewhere where the facilities are more modern and the opportunities brighter. I'm fairly sure Dan is right and I'm a bit embarrassed for taking the bait, but it's hard not to comment when such things are posted.
John Frendreis February 23, 2012 at 10:09 PM
I would like to address a few of the issues raised. First, there is no relationship between the capital budget process and the operating budget. It is fine to not wish to see the district spend money on this, but not for the reason that the funds should be spent on teachers. These funds cannot be used for that purpose. Second, the pool, while expensive, is not a needlessly deluxe facility. It will have eight lanes, the current standard, not the ten seen in many new pools. It will not be fifty meters like the Stevenson pool. It will not have seating on three sides like Evanston or New Trier. It is expensive to build, but it will last for decades - just like other new facilities. Finally, the logic of some recent postings would also apply to all athletic facilities, to fine arts facilities, and to many other "non entrpreneur" facilities that help us to raise and educate healthy, engaged children. I favor spending my tax dollars on providing the current and future students of District 219 these kinds of facilities.
Dan February 24, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Okay, is this guy serious? It's one thing to have a civilized discussion, and there's another to be this guy who claims that he is a 1%er when in actuality, he is probably a no one. If you don't live in Skokie, then don't keep on commenting throughout the day to a discussion that doesn't want your rude comments. There are flaws with Skokie and Illinois, yes. Building a 15 million dollar pool at a time where money is an issue may or may not be the best idea. The fact of the matter is, we speak in a civilized manner in order to express our thoughts. Secondly, a pool can be a good addition because not only can they involve the community, but hire students from Niles North to teach lessons and learn the skills they need in a working environment. Regardless of whether or not it is a good idea, people deserve respect when being spoken to. You speak to others like a thirteen year old trying to use the thesaurus. The best way to solve this is create a pros and cons list with members of the community and figure things out in a civil manner. Thank you others who listen. Going back to your comments earlier, first of all, working out and exercise stimulate your mind and keep you healthy. Secondl
Vicki Strauss February 24, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Interesting reading here. I tend to agree with John Frendreis. It appears the funds are available from the capital fund to pay for the project, so why keep beating this dead horse? It's also my understanding that once the pool at NN is completed, the NW pool will also be "done." Everyone should learn to swim. It is a life-long activity that most folks can do as their bodies age. It is the ONLY sport that I required my children to learn. My daughter was on the NW swim team for one year and learned a lot about swimming, had the best workouts of her life and made a lot of new friends. Her swimming skills enabled her to join the water polo club in college and she loves it. My son is currently in the diving feeder program for NW. He will be a freshman at West in the fall of 2013. What's wrong with giving the STUDENTS quality facilities for their aquatic activities--swimming, diving and water polo? Improved facilities could mean increasing the interest in aquatics? A new aquatics facility raises the profile of the programs? Improves the comfort of spectators attending swim and dive meets, which are long and usually very uncomfortable affairs, but after attending a few at Glenbrook South's beautiful aquatics center, I found out that it doesn't need to be!
Karen Ruiz February 24, 2012 at 08:51 PM
I agree, Niles North is in desperate need of a new pool. I have 2 children that participate in swimming. My son is on the NNHS swim team and my daughter will be next year. My children have beeen swimming for years with the Evanston High School club team. The pool there is extremely old, however iit is a much better facility than NN has. In face there are 2 pool there, one with diving as well as seating 3/4 of the way around which is part of the criteria for hosting state meets. I don't think NN has to have the same facility, but right now it is the worst facility in the north suburban conference. Swimming is one of the best sports for overall body strengthening. The water creates resistance for the whole body. There is significant less incidence of injuries, including concussion which is dangerous to the developing brain. ( Depression, decreased mental accuity, and Parkinson's all linked to sports that have significant incidences of concussion/head trauma.) The health benefits of swimming to reduce incidences of obsesity, diabetes and cardiac disease are all well-documented. Children who swim learn the self-discipline required to manage their time, push their bodies, commit to practice schedules as well as good sportsmanship and being part of something more than just yourself, ie the team and representatives of the school. (Think of our heroes the navy seals, yeah, I think at some point they learned to swim.)
Karen Ruiz February 24, 2012 at 08:56 PM
I agree, Niles North is in desperate need of a new pool. I have 2 children that participate in swimming. My son is on the NNHS swim team and my daughter will be next year. My children have beeen swimming for years with the Evanston High School club team. The pool there is extremely old, however iit is a much better facility than NN has. In face there are 2 pool there, one with diving as well as seating 3/4 of the way around which is part of the criteria for hosting state meets. I don't think NN has to have the same facility, but right now it is the worst facility in the north suburban conference. Swimming is one of the best sports for overall body strengthening. The water creates resistance for the whole body. There is significant less incidence of injuries, including concussion which is dangerous to the developing brain. ( Depression, decreased mental accuity, and Parkinson's all linked to sports that have significant incidences of concussion/head trauma.) The health benefits of swimming to reduce incidences of obsesity, diabetes and cardiac disease are all well-documented. Children who swim learn the self-discipline required to manage their time, push their bodies, commit to practice schedules as well as good sportsmanship and being part of something more than just yourself, ie the team and representatives of the school. (Think of our heroes the navy seals, yeah, I think at some point they learned to swim.)
Jon Schneider February 27, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Headline is false, too, as Board is awaiting bids because 1st round of bids came in too high. The district doesn't plan on building a $15m pool. Typical manipulation of the story with sensationalistic headilne.

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