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H-F High School pool will get $3.6 million in major improvements this summer

The District 233 school board agreed to update and make improvements to the Homewood-Flossmoor High School swimming pool in the South Building.
Major improvements were last done 25 years ago, according to Ken Parchem, H-F business manager. He told board members the project has been on the district’s list for long-term facility updates for a number of years.
“We’ve been band-aiding and band-aiding,” said board member Jody Scariano. “Let’s do it right. Let’s make it right.”
The board unanimously approved the $3,659,434 contract with Chicago Heights Construction. The company was one of only two firms that bid on the project. The board has the money in reserves, Parchem said.
Work will include a complete remodel of the pool, stairwell and office area and new additional spaces. The work will take place from late May through Sept. 21 for the pool and from mid-April until Nov. 2 for the additional space. 
Swimmers will be using the Flossmoor Country Club pool for H-F’s summer program.
In the pool area, workers will be renovating the ceiling, flooring, acoustic treatments, seating, guardrails, sound system, stairwell, scoreboard, lighting, mechanical, balcony, coaches offices and restrooms. The work also includes painting. 
In addition, the contract calls for a buildout to include construction of a classroom and two storage spaces. Parchem said there is no storage now. Things are left in the stairwell, mechanical room and at the back of the pool, and the makeshift classroom space is in the pool lobby.
“Because of the environment, a lot of the lockers are rusted,” Parchem said, so both the men’s and women’s locker rooms will be updated.
Edward Wright of DLA Architects Ltd. said the expected cost of renovating the pool came in slightly under budget, but the addition work is slightly over budget. 
Member Beth Larocca asked if there was a way to do the work in pieces so that the district wasn’t spending such a large amount of money at once. 
Wright explained that the purpose of doing the project all at once is to take advantage of the economy of scale. The smaller the job, the more the work will cost. He also said this work requires an intensive use of labor, including scaffolding to the ceiling, and the work all needs to be coordinated so all pieces of the project are done following a schedule.
Wright said contractors are raising their prices because there is a considerable amount of construction work being done now in Illinois, but the labor force is tight. He noted many tradesmen left their professions after the Great Recession of 2008 hit and construction was at a standstill.
Scariano said the project will be a major improvement for the students and added that residents also will benefit when they use the pool during scheduled community hours.

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