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updated: 10/21/2017 4:53 PM

Glen Ellyn District 41 eyeing Spring Avenue rec center space

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The park, school option

Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 officials are wrestling with long-term space concerns and eying the park district's Spring Avenue rec center as a possible option.

The park district would move its administration offices to the Civic Center only if the school district would pay for the costs to relocate and retrofit the space, officials said.

On Nov. 13, Glen Ellyn trustees could get more specifics about a possible three-way deal.

"We're exploring this idea and approached the village because we knew they had the space," school board President Stephanie Clark said. "The school board needs to discuss putting a proposal together for the village to consider, trying to figure out if we can get economy of scales between the local entities."

District voters last November approved a request to borrow $24.2 million in tax-backed loans for construction projects at Hadley Junior High and elementary schools. The then-board decided against seeking funding to create space for full-day kindergarten, a program offered by surrounding districts.

But several projects have been floated over the years to provide room for such classrooms. In 2016, building an early learning center on vacant district-owned land was estimated to cost up to $29 million.

"If we provided space for existing local taxing bodies, that is a known savings and a quantifiable savings, if it prevented the school district from building an early center or finding housing for kids for full-day kindergarten," Trustee Pete Ladesic said.

More recently, space concerns have surfaced because of a proposed subdivision near Center Ice of DuPage that could bring more families into District 41.

"We're just trying to be really forward-thinking, connecting with these different partners to see what is the potential out there for additional space for our preschool, for our early child center," Superintendent Paul Gordon told the school board last week. "Currently, we have six classrooms over at Forest Glen (Elementary), and as the board knows and the community knows, we don't have a lot of additional space within our facilities."

Developers have only sought informal feedback from the village and have not submitted formal plans, Village Manager Mark Franz said. Given the smaller lot sizes and floor plans, the subdivision may be more geared toward seniors.

"What impact that is going to have on the school is really unknown at this point if they moved forward at all," Franz said.

Other trustees say the village could risk losing out on a "viable" plan with COD to give other groups more time to develop a proposal. COD officials say the college is willing to pay $1.5 million to gut more than 5,000 square feet of the former police station and create open collaborative areas and new offices.

"What we have is an opportunity now versus speculation in the future," Trustee Mark Senak said.

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