District 203 considering uses for property on 5th Avenue
School buses are parked near a commercial building in Naperville that formerly housed a women's workout facility and a catering company, but actually is owned by Naperville Unit District 203.
The district bought the property, which is south of 5th Avenue across from Naperville North High School, for $2.95 million in December 2012 and now uses it for a variety of purposes, including overflow school bus parking.
But the district is taking a look at whether the hodgepodge use of the property fits the long-term needs of the district, officials say.
The building at 700-722 W. 5th Ave. houses a cooperative print shop shared by District 203 and Indian Prairie Unit District 204, a program called Connections for special needs students who have finished high school but have not yet reached their 22nd birthday, and storage space, Superintendent Dan Bridges said.
The print shop prepares documents such as the budget book created for school board members and handouts and posters associated with the Future Focus series of community engagement sessions held during the past year, Bridges said.
The Connections program that uses space in the building is a transitional education program that helps special needs students prepare for life once they are too old to attend classes in public school.
The district had been renting four spaces totaling 16,935 square feet in the building for roughly $180,000 a year before the board unanimously decided to purchase the property in late 2012. Administrators at the time said much of the purchase price eventually would be recouped from no longer needing to pay rent.
Some of the space the district bought remains vacant, but Bridges said potential additional uses are being considered as part of a facilities master plan administrators are developing.
"We're looking at how that space can serve our needs long-term," Bridges said.
Additional student programs and training space for adults are two uses the district is considering for some of the remaining space.
The school board is set to receive an update about the facilities master plan at its meeting May 19, Bridges said. So far, the district has completed a conditions assessment, which is the first phase of the planning process.
Bridges said there is no specific timeline for completing or beginning to implement the plan.