School Board Considers Spending $5 Million

Officials look at capital improvements for Lake Forest High School. They may borrow $3.5 million to pay for infrastructure and Lindemeyer Field East Campus track.

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.

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“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.

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Roger Billings January 13, 2013 at 03:02 PM
The numbers you cite as being raised by the DC are at least $800,000 below the amount that was promised at the outset. Public/private partnerships are great (and LF has a strong history of them), but there needs to be a far better balance than what would have resulted here. The Board made the correct decision.
Jim January 14, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Steve and Roger, Today we are being asked if we think it makes sense to borrow this same money that the DC promissed. If they want to do the project today it seems that the board did not make a good decison. Even if the ammount that was raised by the DC was less than originally planned ( which i have no facts either way to comment on) wouldnt the smaller amount still be worth accepting?
Steve Hill January 14, 2013 at 10:15 PM
Ted January 17, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Just out of curiosity I researched banked oval field tracks. They are extremely rare in outdoor settings and are considered unnecessary. They are occasionally used on indoor tracks as the tracks are smaller and tighter. The normal indoor track is 200 meters in length with tighter turns as opposed to the normal outdoor track that is 440 yards in length with less sharp turns, with less of a need for banking to counter the centrifugal forces. How many high school and college outdoor tracks are banked in the Midwest. My guess is you could count them on one hand. I think money would be better spent on things like education rather than things like this.
Stanley Johnson January 25, 2013 at 12:36 AM
Actually Scout the track is in horrible condition. People who run track are probably embarrass to run on it. You could probably go to North Chicago or Waukegan, and they have a better track then Lake Forest. The surface is very hard, and by IHSA law, the track is in its last year of existence. You know why??? Cause it hasn't been re-done in nearly 25 years. How embarrassing would that be if LFHS kids can't even hold events on their track cause people of LF didn't bother to approve what LFHS is trying to do.


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