U-46 considering publishing house property for new elementary school

A well-known Elgin publishing house could become the site for Elgin Area School District U-46’s newest elementary school.

School officials Monday outlined plans to purchase the David C. Cook Publishing House property at 850 N. Grove Ave. for $2.4 million. The 9.16-acre property once housed the publishing house headquarters, which have since been relocated to Colorado Springs. School board members are expected to vote on purchasing the land at their April 22 meeting.

“This acreage provides adequate space in an ideal location to construct a state-of-the-art elementary building that would serve many of the students currently assigned to McKinley Elementary,” said U-46 Deputy Superintendent for Operations Ann Williams.

The property, which Elgin City Council members once considered landmarking, is located on the northeast side of Elgin, roughly four blocks west of McKinley Elementary School, one of the district’s oldest elementary schools.

McKinley was built in 1887 and sits on 2.4 acres, making reconstruction on its current site difficult, district officials said. It is one of the schools district officials have proposed to close at the end of the 2026-27 school year.

  One of the Elgin Area School District U-46’s oldest schools, McKinley Elementary is being considered for closure after the 2026-27 school year. Rick West/, 2023

If board members agree to purchase the publishing house property, the district would have a 120-day due diligence period to inspect the property and ensure it meets the district’s needs. District officials said they also would extend a lease agreement with the David C. Cook Publishing House and allow them to remain on the property until Jan. 31, 2025.

District officials Monday also approved moving forward with selling the former Woodland Heights Elementary School building at 900 S. Park Blvd. in Streamwood.

The building, built in 1958, was last used as a school by the district during the 2011-2012 school year. After its closure, the district leased the building to Parkland Preparatory Academy for a time, but district officials noted the building has sat vacant for several years.

U-46 Chief of Staff Brian Lindholm said the district was recently approached by a developer wishing to use the former elementary school as a private therapeutic day school.

School board members approved advertising requesting bids on the property and set $1.2 million as the minimum bid and details on an 18-month agreement to pay for the property. The district will run a series of three ads informing potential buyers of the opportunity. Final bids are due to the district on May 13.

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