Barrington Unit District 220 board members Tuesday morning voted to accept an 11.25-acre undeveloped site across Hart Road from Barrington High School from a private donor for a purpose yet to be decided.
The donation was made by Tom Wamberg on behalf of his family, including his wife, former District 220 board member Dede Wamberg.
"We have a special interest in Barrington High School, as all seven of our children attended there and received wonderful educations," Tom Wamberg said in a prepared statement released Tuesday. "We know this property is needed and we are delighted it will eventually be put to good use by the school district."
The land lies along the western edge of Hart Road, just south of the Barrington Corporate Center.
Board President Brian Battle said the site is too small for any future school the district might build. Its possible development for some other use would have to be coordinated with the villages of Barrington and Barrington Hills.
Any future use of the site also would acknowledge the Wambergs' donation through naming, Battle said.
Though the property adjoins Flint Creek, it doesn't include any of the conservation easements found elsewhere along the creek, Battle said.
In fact, the property is zoned for commercial use. Tom Wamberg said he'd long expected it to be developed as office space.
"The market for office buildings isn't robust," Wamberg said Tuesday. "I don't know when the market will ever come back for office space."
Wamberg also owns another 14 or 15 adjoining acres which are governed by conservation easements. He said he may also donate that land in the future to an agency dedicated to such uses.
Battle said the school district will discuss potential uses for its new property in the months ahead. The addition brings greater flexibility to the Barrington High School campus, which has largely been landlocked since it was first built in the 1940s.
Though the campus can comfortably accommodate its current 3,000 students, if enrollment ever increases additional space would be welcome, Battle said.
The possibility of the donation was raised after the board's last regular meeting earlier in December, requiring a full discussion Tuesday morning.
Battle said the meeting was held on New Year's Eve at Wamberg's request to complete the transaction in 2013.