Libertyville High School’s indoor swimming pool and lower-level locker rooms would be renovated and 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 the swimming pool now being built elsewhere at the school is completed.
Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 officials revealed plans for the swimming pool and locker rooms 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 of the plan. It followed a similar presentation by Vernon Hills High Principal Jon Guillaume about a proposed $25.5 million expansion there.
The swimming pool and locker rooms occupy about 16,000 square feet in the center 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 the pool to be removed and a floor built. It would then be turned into space for wrestling and physical education programs, Koulentes said.
The lower level would be turned into a dance studio. Students in dance programs don’t have a dedicated space and must practice in the cafeteria, where the ceiling is too low for them to perform lifts.
“It’s less than ideal,” Koulentes said.
The lower-level locker rooms have relatively low ceilings, said Mike Henderson on STR Partners, the Chicago architectural firm working on the project. As part of the renovation, the lower-level ceiling would be raised six feet, he said.
The facilities committee Monday informally gave administrators and architects permission to proceed with design work.
If the project moves forward, officials could seek construction bids in January or February. Construction could begin in May and be completed in January or February 2020, officials said.
Because the pool is remaining in use until the new one is finished, demolition of the current pool must wait until after the new pool is completed, Lea said.
Additionally, the demolition work will be significant and must occur over a summer when students aren’t in the building, he said.
If demolition doesn’t occur in summer 2019, it’ll have to wait until summer 2020, 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.