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updated: 3/28/2014 5:42 PM

Costs to fix it could be prohibitive, Berman says

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  • The North Aurora Activity Center will remain closed while village officials decide whether it is worthwhile to repair its roof and supports.

      The North Aurora Activity Center will remain closed while village officials decide whether it is worthwhile to repair its roof and supports.
    Susan Sarkauskas | Staff Photographer


Things are not looking good for the North Aurora Activity Center, which has been closed for two weeks after village officials deemed it unsafe.

The village received a report from a structural engineer this week about the state of the building's roof trusses and second-story ceilings. "The roof is under a great deal of stress. It's really bad," Village President Dale Berman said Friday.

Engineers will now estimate what it would cost to fix the building, which would include taking the ceiling down and replacing joists.

"I have a feeling it is going to be several hundred thousand dollars," Berman said. He also said the roof is about 30 years old and due to be replaced, which he estimates at another $100,000.

Combine that with the fact the main part of the building is 83 years old; has its original boiler, which needs work; and contains some asbestos, and " ... We don't need it. It has seen its day," Berman added.

The village shut the building after part of the ceiling collapsed.

Berman said rafters have split, and some are so degraded one can put a hand through the wood.

"I certainly feel it (repair) is going to be prohibitive," Berman said.

The village bought the former North Aurora Grade School in the 1970s, Berman said. It housed the village's recreation department. In the 1990s, the village disbanded the recreation department and rented the building to the Fox Valley Park District. The park district stopped using it in 2005 when it opened the Vaughn Center in Aurora.

The village was renting space to the Share and Care child-care center and preschool, which was forced to move when the building closed. It reopened this week on John Street, in the former Rainbow Tile building.

The village spent $450,000 on the building in 1998, including making it fully accessible to people with disabilities. In 2003, the village board decided to make only minimal repairs to the building, until its permanent status was decided.

According to Aurora Township assessor's records, the building and the land it sits on have a market value of about $87,000.

The village expected to take in $75,000 in rent, and budgeted $76,100 for expenses, for the center in the 2013-14 fiscal year, which ends April 30. The North Aurora Activity Center Fund began the year with a reserve of $128,768.

Berman said trustees discussed the building at a recent strategic planning workshop, and will review the engineering report in April. He hasn't decided if it will first be presented to the community development or public facilities committee, or go straight to the village board, which next meets April 7.

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