Old Big Hollow buildings will be razed
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Big Hollow Elementary District 38 plans to knock down the old primary school building at routes 12 and Route 12. The former Taveirne Middle School also will be demolished, officials said.
Paul Valade, 2004
The former Big Hollow Primary School and nearby Taveirne Middle School buildings have a date with a wrecking ball.
After the village of Fox Lake condemned the closed schools on Route 12 in August, the Big Hollow Elementary District 38 board has voted to demolish both structures.
The structures were red tagged by village building inspector Frank Urbina as being unsafe for human occupancy.
The school board will make a final decision on the demolition company, as well as the day the buildings will come down, during its monthly board meeting Monday night.
"By demolishing the facilities, it reduces our liabilities," said District 38 board President Vicki Gallichio. "The buildings have been broken into and vandalized numerous times since we moved out. By demolishing it, it reduces any liability problems that may exist."
She added it could become easier for District 38 to sell the prime piece of commercial real estate without having the condemned structures on the site. "Because we go out for bid and use the lowest responsible demolition company, it will be cheaper for us to demolish the buildings than if a developer did it themselves," she said. "Hopefully, it will make the property more enticing, but I don't know if it will affect the sale price."
Selling the 12-acre Big Hollow school site at routes 12 and 134 has been problematic for the school district.
The district moved out of the old primary and middle school in 2006 after voters approved a $29 million referendum for two new schools in spring 2005.
Since students moved out, the property has been up for sale while the school buildings remained vacant and primarily used as bus parking for District 38.
The property has twice been purchased since it went on the market after students moved out. However, each time, the developers have backed out of the deal for assorted reasons.
To add to the difficulty, the district has refused to budge off its $5 million minimum selling price for the site.
Gallichio said the property was assessed at $5 million before 2006, and the board has discussed the idea of reducing the minimum sale price in order to sell it.
"But, the board wants to get through the demolition process before discussing something else," she said. "In a perfect world, we'd like to have the buildings demolished and the property seeded before the end of the year. But, that depends entirely on the weather."
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