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updated: 7/10/2014 2:14 PM

Libertyville gets extension to decide on Brainerd exit strategy

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  • The original Libertyville Township High School is scheduled to be demolished this fall.

       The original Libertyville Township High School is scheduled to be demolished this fall.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 

Libertyville will get another month to choose an exit strategy from the Brainerd building and Jackson Gym.

Under terms of a lease with Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128, the village had until Aug. 3 to notify the district if it wanted to end the pact with no current rent due.

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However, back rent of $404,000 would be due at that time. The village has the option of paying a portion of the asbestos abatement and demolition costs of the former Libertyville High School, built in 1917, and the adjoining gym, which was built in 1929.

Which cost would be lower is unknown as the district won't receive bids for the work in time to meet the Aug. 3 deadline. So, the district and village board have agreed to delay the notice date to Sept. 2.

"We're just waiting for the demolition bids to come in so we can make a decision whether to pay rent or pay for part of the demolition," Mayor Terry Weppler said.

The village has leased the buildings from the school district since 2006 and subleased them to the not-for-profit Brainerd Community Center Inc., which unsuccessfully tried to raise funds to convert the school building to a community center.

Voters this past April overwhelmingly rejected a proposed tax hike to pay for the $11.5 million project.

District 128 Superintendent Prentiss Lea said a memorandum of understanding with the village was easier than changing the contract.

"This just allows an additional month of time and allows us to have some finer figures," he said. The district is preparing specifications for the project and soon will seek bids, he added.

"It's been a number of years since the last definitive numbers were put together," Lea said.

"We need a more specific set of numbers and they need a specific set of numbers. It's a good example of the school district and village working together to try to do the right thing," he added.

Lea said demolition likely will begin in October or November at the latest.

The building at Route 176 and Brainerd Avenue opened as Libertyville Township High School. All classroom activities there ended in 1999 with the opening of Vernon Hills High School.

Some village parks programs were held there for a few years, but the buildings were shuttered because of safety issues and have been vacant more than a decade.

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