Replacement of aging infrastructure and improvements of athletic facilities at the Lake Forest High School East Campus are part of a potential $5 million capital spending plan under consideration by the Lake Forest Community High School District 115 Board of Education.
The Board heard an initial report from Deputy Superintendent for Finance and Operations Allen Albus at its Tuesday meeting. Albus told Patch Thursday it was time to consider the project because the District has regained its financial footing after the economic downturn began in 2008.
“We’ve been on a path to black,” Albus said. “We made budget reductions and brought our labor (contract) in line with the current economy.”
The initial proposal calls for approximately $1.5 million to come from capital reserve funds and the remaining $3.5 million to be derived from the sale of bonds. Repayment of principal and interest will come from the operating budget, according to Albus.
The most expensive part of the project is replacing the approximately 20-year-old six-lane track at Lindemeyer Field with an eight-lane banked oval and building new storage facilities to replace those currently located under the bleachers.
“A track banked at the curves is easier on the knees. It is a safer design” Albus said. “An eight lane track will encroach on the existing bleachers.” Temporary bleachers will be purchased. “We have to keep the storage facilities.”
With no intention of installing lights at Lindemeyer Field, the eight-lane track will make it easier to finish events before dark, according to Albus. He also explained the temporary seats can be moved to other fields at the East Campus for events.
Other proposed infrastructure items include a new Dectron unit for the swimming pool to maintain air quality, new air conditioning units and hot water boilers where needed and a new rigging system for the theater. “These have come to the end of a meaningful life,” Albus said.
With interest rates on bonds at or near record lows and the District in an improved financial condition, Albus believes borrowing part of the money is the right approach. “It’ a very good time to borrow,” he said. “The fact is it’s a good plan.” He sees the ability to retire the debt ahead of time.