Elgin's Centro moving into former hospital nunnery
After nearly 46 years, the nonprofit Centro de Informacion is moving out of downtown Elgin to a building on the Presence St. Joseph Hospital campus.
Centro will close its doors at 5 p.m. Feb. 14 at 28 N. Grove Ave. and reopen Feb. 26 at 1885 Lin Lor Lane, Executive Director Jaime Garcia said.
The agency, which mostly assists immigrants and Latinos, for the last 15 years has occupied the second floor of a building owned by PNC Bank, which closed its branch on the first floor in July and was planning to sell the property.
The new 7,200-square-foot building is a bit larger than the current offices, but lacks its basement storage space, Garcia said. "We're going to be a little tight," he said.
On the upside, Centro's 11 staff members will have their own offices. "Currently some of us have offices and the rest have cubicles. Sometimes, when you're talking with people about their problems and so forth, having cubicles is not necessarily a good thing for privacy," he said. "(In the new location) privacy will be at its utmost."
There will also be a food pantry and computer area for clients, like at the current location. There are two bus stops nearby.
Centro had considered moving into a building owned by the city at 600 N. State St., but that isn't ready and negotiations with the hospital came to fruition, Garcia said. PNC Bank had allowed Centro to pay "much less" than the average rent in downtown Elgin, and St. Joseph will be charging even less, he said.
The new location used to be a nunnery and most recently housed the accounting department of the hospital, Garcia said. "The hospital has really gone out of their way to fix it up for us," he said, such as by redoing the roof, painting the interior and putting in new carpeting.
Centro will host an open house, likely in March, when it will also celebrate its 46th anniversary, Garcia said.
"It's a nice location, in a building of our own. It's a more parklike setting as opposed to a more urban setting in downtown."
Representatives of St. Joseph and PNC Bank didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.