Joseph J. Pleviak Elementary School in Lake Villa won't shut its doors for good after all when the 2013-14 academic season concludes next month.
While Lake Villa Elementary District 41 cites declining enrollment for no longer using Pleviak after classes there end June 9, it has a tentative deal to lease the school to Round Lake Area Unit District 116. Officials say District 116's enrollment is rising and that Pleviak would provide more space for kindergarten classes.
District 116 board members intend to vote on the proposed 10-year lease for the Grand Avenue building at a meeting Monday night. If the District 41 board grants approval, the deal would start July 15.
State law allows districts to go beyond legal boundaries to lease property for school purposes. The proposed agreement calls for District 116 to rent Pleviak for $175,000 in the first year, topping out at $209,141 after gradual increases.
Under the plan, kindergarten students no longer would attend classes at District 116's early education center or Village Elementary School, both in Round Lake. Those classes would shift to Pleviak.
In turn, the early education center would receive District 116's preschool pupils. Such classes have been held at a Round Lake Area Park District facility, Village Elementary and St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Round Lake.
District 116 Superintendent Constance Collins said she's excited about using Pleviak.
"Pleviak will allow us to expand upon the current offerings by providing all of our kindergarten students to classrooms in one location, a gymnasium, library, cafeteria and playground," Collins said in a statement.
She said while amenities such as a gym are not available at the early education center on Nippersink Road in Round Lake, the building would provide more appropriate space for specialized services to preschoolers, such as physical and occupational therapy.
All of the shifting would create room at the education center to accommodate a planned move there by District 116's central office staff, officials said.
Built in 1910, Pleviak originally was called Lake Villa School. The building then became Central School.
Central was renamed to honor Pleviak after he retired as principal in 1971. He taught history and math at the school from 1954 to 1970 and completed his final year there as the principal.
District 41 Superintendent John Van Pelt has said financial challenges and a shifting demographic that has caused an overall enrollment decline led to Pleviak no longer being needed for his school system. District 41 will go from four elementary schools to three in 2014-15.
Van Pelt said District 41 is pleased to have an opportunity to lease Pleviak to District 116 and keep it running as a school.
"District 41 staff will work closely with the District 116 staff during the next few months for a successful and effective transition," he said.
Pleviak alumni are invited to an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. June 3.