District 67, park district eye gym-sharing agreement
Updated: April 29, 2013 2:15AM
The Morton Grove Park District and Golf Elementary School District 67 are considering striking a deal to build a new gym at Hynes School.
The park district District 67 are in preliminary talks about an agreement that would help the district pay some of the costs of the gym, giving the park district additional space for programs.
The school district has drafted what officials say is a very preliminary version of a possible agreement that would have the park district provide funds to help cover the costs of some extra items for the gym, such as bleachers, and also share in the operating costs once the gym is completed.
The school district also is looking to end an annual payment to the park district for the maintenance of Hren Park, behind Golf Middle School.
The park is on school district property, but was completed and is being maintained by the park district, which shares in its use.
The District 67 School Board discussed the proposal Thursday night.
But Rich Grodsky, interim executive director at the park district, said his board is aware of the talks, but has not discussed the proposal.
He said the park district is always in need of additional space for programs, but likely will not be able to make any decision on an agreement with the school district until a new comprehensive plan is completed this spring.
The new gym, to be built next summer, is being funded through a bond sale approved by voters in November.
The school district is in the process of going out for bids for construction of the gym. Depending on how the bids come in, some of the extra items could be added.
“You may chose to incorporate some of those and you may not,” said Leanne Meyer-Smith, from Wight Architects, the firm designing the gym and upgrades to both schools.
The additional items include such things as a motorized divided curtain, bleachers, a scoreboard and repairs to the parking area. They total $360,000.
District 67 Superintendent Jamie Reilly said the park district appears willing to consider the idea of sharing use of the gym. She said talks last year about the same issue were less positive.
“The ball is already rolling. We’re not where we were a year ago,” she said.
Grodsky said that at the park district discussions so far are at the staff level.
Marty McConahay, acting District 67 business manager, said he developed a draft of an agreement to get things started, though it is very preliminary and has not been presented to the park district.
He said the school district could recoup about half of the cost of operating the new gym, which will be used by the school district about 180 days a year.
“That would help our operating expenses,” McConahay said.
If an agreement is reached, the park district would likely be able to use the gym for its programs at least some nights, weekends, during school breaks and over the summer.
“This would be a pretty good deal for, us and a pretty good deal for the park district over the long term,” he said.
In addition to sharing such things as utility costs, McConahay said an agreement would likely have the two districts share items like repairs and any renovations done later.
Also, he said, both would have to provide insurance.
School officials plan to discuss the issue further in a committee meeting next week.
McConahay said one important issue for the school district is the Hren Park agreement, which runs for another 19 years. The park district took over development of the park after the school district was unable to complete it. The park district also maintains it with an annual $10,000 payment from the school district.
McConahay called it a “thorn in the side” that the district should try to eliminate.~.