Brainerd Building bricks may be offered for sale to benefit educational programs
If you're a Libertyville-area resident who wanted a souvenir piece of the old Brainerd school building or Jackson Gym before they're reduced to rubble, you may yet have a chance.
Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 officials have reversed course and may save up to 1,000 bricks for possible public sale, said Yasmine Dada, the district's assistant superintendent for business. Proceeds could benefit educational programs, Dada said.
"We really didn't think there would be that much interest in the bricks, but apparently there is," Dada told the Daily Herald on Wednesday.
Details still need to be worked out.
About 2,000 additional bricks and other architectural elements from Brainerd already were salvaged for use in a memorial to the school that will be erected on the site.
Demolition of the buildings on the northeast corner of Route 176 and Brainerd Avenue began last month. It's being handled by Dore and Associates, a Michigan firm.
In addition to the district's recycling efforts, Libertyville architect Mike Kollman said he's acquiring between 5,000 and 6,000 bricks from the Jackson Gym to use in a construction project in downtown Libertyville. Kollman said he worked out that deal with Dore directly.
Kollman, who lives across the street from the campus, is a member of Libertyville's historic preservation commission. On Wednesday, he criticized the new plan to sell bricks from the site.
"I think they should give them to people," Kollman said. "The taxpayers paid for them once already, they shouldn't have to pay for them again."
The Brainerd Building and the Jackson Gym were built in the early 20th century and were the first Libertyville High campus. The site is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Demolition crews tackled the Brainerd Building first. Only a small section of the 97-year-old structure remained as of Wednesday.
"The crew is currently working on cleaning up and removing the construction debris and saving the requested bricks," Dada said. "They will remove the foundation after that."
That task should be done next week.
The brick facade of the Jackson Gym is still intact because demolition crews have focused on the other building. The interior of the two-story gym, which also contained some classrooms, is visibly empty.
Demolition of the gym should start in the next week or two and take two months, depending on the weather, Dada said.
Crews will use concrete from the buildings' foundations to fill in the holes. They'll top the space with dirt and add grass seed, Dada said.
The work has gone well so far, Dada said. Officials have received only one noise-related complaint from a neighbor, and that issue was quickly resolved, she said.
"We have had no major hiccups," Dada said.
The District 128 board moved ahead with demolition plans last year after a community-driven effort to save at least one of the structures failed to garner the necessary funding.
The buildings, last used as a freshmen-only campus until Vernon Hills High opened, were shuttered more than a decade ago because of health and safety issues.