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Article posted: 8/20/2010 12:01 AM

What to do with Brainerd campus? District, community group disagree

Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 officials will meet Monday to discuss what to do with the long-shuttered Brainerd Building campus in Libertyville.

Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 officials will meet Monday to discuss what to do with the long-shuttered Brainerd Building campus in Libertyville.

 

Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2009

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As a community group tries to raise money for a proposed renovation of the former Brainerd school campus, plans to raze the structures there remain on the table, Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 officials said.

"There's no clear indication as to what's going to happen with Brainerd at this time," said Yasmine Dada, the district's assistant superintendent for business.

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School district officials have supported the efforts of a volunteer group working to turn the former Libertyville High campus into the Brainerd Community Center. But with the deadline for an initial $250,000 payment to the school district less than 16 months away, school officials want to be prepared if the project doesn't solidify.

Control of the buildings would revert to District 128 if the deadline passes.

"(We are) in no way saying that we think it's going to happen or it should," District 128 spokeswoman Mary Todoric said. "We just want to have a plan in place."

The school board's property committee will meet Monday to discuss the options for the Brainerd campus and to get an update on the community group's work, Dada said. The meeting is set for 6:15 p.m. at Vernon Hills High School, 145 N. Lakeview Parkway.

In December 2009, the committee reviewed three architectural proposals for the campus, which is on Route 176 and contains the main Brainerd classroom building and the Jackson gym. Both buildings have been shuttered for years.

One proposal called for the construction of a new football field to be used by students at the current Libertyville High, which is west of the site. A second concept put new tennis courts on the site; a third would create more student parking spaces.

All three plans recommended demolition of the Brainerd building, the gym or both structures.

Those proposals remain on the table, Dada said. When they meet Monday, property committee members will discuss the district's options for the site.

"The last thing we want to do is find ourselves with a building on our hands (in December 2011), and we look at each other and say 'Now what?'" Dada said.

Brainerd Community Center organizers have raised about $40,000 through a few public fundraisers for the project since forming about four years ago, said John Snow, the group's president.

That money has been spent, however, on basic maintenance, building repairs and other costs, Snow said.

Snow is concerned about the group's lack of funds but believes there's still time to raise the money before the deadline.

"We're very cautiously optimistic," said Snow, a former District 128 board member.

The group's next public event - dubbed the North Shore Wine, Craft Beer, Cigar and Food Festival - is set for Aug. 28 at the Brainerd field. It will feature products from wineries, brewers and local restaurants.

Tickets for the 21-and-over event are available for $25 at northshorewinebeerfest.com, at Libertyville village hall and at some local businesses. They'll be $35 at the door.

Two-for-one tickets are available for anyone 60 or older, Snow said.

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