Palatine Dist. 15, park district to consider Osage Park land for new school

 
 

Palatine Township Elementary District 15 and the Palatine Park District will begin looking at a different park in Palatine's northeast corner as a possible location for a new K-5 elementary school.

While the two taxing bodies had been considering land in Falcon Park as a possible location for a proposed school, school board members and park district commissioners Wednesday night agreed that Osage Park, located less than of a mile east of Falcon Park near the intersection of Old Hicks and Coach roads, could be a more feasible option for the new school. Park district leaders said they heard from several citizens concerned with the notion of building a school that would have been attached to the Falcon Park Recreation Center. And District 15 Superintendent Scott Thompson said the list of items the park district wouldn't budge on in a potential agreement at Falcon Park made it "difficult to make this work."

The park district required that community members have full access to the indoor track and activity rooms in the Falcon Park rec center, including while school is in session, among other things.

Park district leaders warned a change to Osage Park wouldn't come without resistance from residents.

Osage Park has been in the neighborhood for more than 30 years, said Park District Commissioner Jay Cozza.

"You'll get more pushback at Osage," Cozza said. "That's the only major park up there."

Osage Park is about six acres, and is currently used for baseball, softball and soccer games. There is also a picnic shelter on the land.

The recommendation for a new elementary school comes from a District 15 facilities plan committee. Committee members recommended the K-5 elementary school be built in the northeast corner of the district and a sixth- through eighth-grade middle school be built off Ela Road in Inverness. The new elementary school would serve 1,200 students, the facilities plan committee reported in April.

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Building new schools would require voter approval, and it is not yet clear whether District 15 would put a referendum on the November ballot, or wait until the spring.

The planning committee also suggested District 15 give the park district use of the district's oldest school, Gray Sanborn Elementary School, in any agreement the two bodies establish.

"I would ask that you not forget about that, it's very important to us," Cozza said.

The land Sanborn Elementary sits on is right next to several other park district properties.

"The location of the property is what's attractive to us," Palatine Park District Executive Director Mike Clark said. "It would mean a lot more opportunities to master-plan that entire block as a park district campus."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Clark said the school building would likely be used for youth development and various park district classes and programs.

Subcommittees from District 15 and the Palatine Park District will likely meet in the upcoming weeks to examine more closely the possibility of putting a school in Osage Park.

"We will involve the community once we have the information and we are all on the same page," District 15 Board President Peggy Babcock said. "We want to be transparent and do what's best for the taxpayers."

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