Although a new swimming pool at Hinsdale Central High School is not on the short list for upcoming capital projects in District 86, it was discussed at Thursday’s Facilities Committee meeting.
About a dozen community members attended the meeting, and most spoke in support of a new pool.
Hinsdale resident Susan Owens said the pool is “an embarrassment to the district.”
The pool, built in the mid-1950s, lacks the size and amenities to host regional swim meets.
It would be nice if families did not always have to travel for their children’s regional swim meets to communities on the North Shore or even up to Wisconsin, Owens said.
Lisa Kramer, the mother of a Hinsdale Central sophomore and two younger swimmers, said it seems as though the pool has been short-changed, compared with the school’s facilities for football and track, which are state of the art.
Patrick Hurley, director of building and grounds at Central, and Robert Adamik, his counterpart at Hinsdale South High School, agreed the Central pool needs to be replaced.
Representatives of other pools in the area, too, supported Hinsdale Central getting a new pool and acknowledged the high demand for swim time.
Charlie Genoar, a 2007 graduate and the swimming director of the private Salt Creek Club in Hinsdale, said Central is overdue for this.
Gina Hassett, director of Hinsdale’s Parks and Recreation Department, said a new pool at Central would offer an opportunity for a partnership between the village and the school district for swim programs.
District 86 Facilities Committee Chairman Edward Corcoran said the district will have to decide whether it wants a new pool that would replace the existing one, or one that would have the numbers of lanes and other amenities to qualify for hosting regional swim competitions.
The difference in cost would be large, but the only way to know the amounts would be to do two different designs, Corcoran said.
“Like it or not, we have to replace this pool,” Corcoran said. “It’s past its useful life.”
When and how the pool would be replaced are the questions, he said. Paying for the new pool is another question. Regardless, it’s not going to happen this year.
Projects planned for this year include a new roof for the Hinsdale Central gymnasium, roof repairs at Hinsdale South, relocating the girls softball field at Hinsdale Central and solar panels at both schools.
So why discuss a new pool at this time?
“There’s a huge amount of community interest in this,” Corcoran said. “The lead time for a complicated project is several years and I don’t feel the need for postponing the initial discussion.”