Mundelein High to buy Kirk of the Lakes Church for $1.6 million

 
 
Updated 4/15/2016 5:27 PM
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  • Kirk of the Lakes Presbyterian Church in Mundelein is being purchased by neighboring Mundelein High School and will close. The congregation's future hasn't been determined.

      Kirk of the Lakes Presbyterian Church in Mundelein is being purchased by neighboring Mundelein High School and will close. The congregation's future hasn't been determined. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer

  • Kirk of the Lakes Presbyterian Church in Mundelein is being purchased by neighboring Mundelein High School and will close. School officials plan to use the church's gym for athletic practices and may use some of the site for parking.

      Kirk of the Lakes Presbyterian Church in Mundelein is being purchased by neighboring Mundelein High School and will close. School officials plan to use the church's gym for athletic practices and may use some of the site for parking. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer

Mundelein High School officials on Friday agreed to buy a church next to the Hawley Street campus for nearly $1.6 million.

The deal, which officials kept under wraps until Friday's special board meeting, could mean the end of the Kirk of the Lakes Presbyterian Church, 1500 W. Hawley St.

Pastor Nancy Dolan said she didn't know if the church would fold or find a new space.

"We are in the process of exploring our various options for the congregation," Dolan said.

The church has suffered declining membership and now is down to only 68 people, Dolan said. Membership peaked at about 250 people a few decades ago, according to the church website.

The church will cease operations on the 4.1-acre site in December, school officials said. The church's Wee Kirk Preschool will close in May.

The roughly 15,900-square-foot church is just west of Mundelein High, which is at 1350 W. Hawley.

"The location is really a gold mine for the district," school spokesman Ron Girard said. "It is directly adjacent to the district property and could help alleviate limited parking space, add possible athletic practice fields (and more)."

The church started in 1961 with a service at Sandburg Middle School in Mundelein. The original church building opened in 1965, and a gymnasium was added decades later.

Mundelein's Kirk Players community theater group launched at the church in 1966.

A real estate closing is scheduled for June. The school will take full occupancy in January.

In the short term, Mundelein High officials intend to use the church's gym and land for athletic practices. That will reduce the money the school spends on rental fees for athletic facilities, Girard said.

For example, the cheerleaders rent practice space at the church and a dance team rents former retail space in town.

Long-term uses will be developed, too, Girard said. Eventual building expansion will be considered, Myers said.

"That opens up a lot of opportunities," he said.

The money for the purchase will come from the district's savings, Girard said.

The Mundelein High School board's last significant land purchase occurred in 2004 when the district spent $8.4 million on the 91-acre Village Green Golf Course, which is on Midlothian Road at Winchester Road.

Mundelein High officials intended to use the land for a second building or athletic fields as enrollment rose. But the student population didn't increase as projected, so golfers have been able to continue to play the course.

Village Green has been for sale since 2014.

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