District 220 to pay $1.1 million for new headquarters
Barrington Area Unit District 220 plans to move its administration headquarters from a building in a residential neighborhood in the village to property PepsiCo Inc. most recently used for its Gatorade division, officials said.
School board members this week voted 7-0 to authorize spending $1.1 million for the 20,000-square-foot office building at 515 W. Main St., across the street from Barrington High School. The tentative deal with PepsiCo won't close before district officials examine the building and its infrastructure under a 60-day due diligence period, board President Brian Battle said.
"The board believes that this purchase is in the best interests of the school district," Battle said.
If the deal becomes final, District 220's administrative operations would move from the building at 310 James St. to the PepsiCo site this summer.
Board member Penny Kazmier touched on some of the James Street structure's shortcomings, including closets that have been converted into offices with little light. Officials said it could cost at least $1.1 million to upgrade the facility.
Another board member, Angela Wilcox, said officials tried to find ways to make the administration headquarters more habitable.
"The costs were very, very, very high and it was becoming a very difficult issue," Wilcox said.
Battle said the move into the Gatorade offices not only would provide more space for administration employees, but also offer room for large gatherings of educators for districtwide professional development. He added that there would be plenty of parking spaces.
About 50 employees work in the current administration building, District 220 spokeswoman Samantha Ptashkin said.
Officials said the PepsiCo building has been vacant for a few years. Battle said the district would use reserve funds from a capital projects account to pay for the purchase.
District 220's James Street facility has been a longtime issue. Officials as far back as 2001 discussed selling it or moving elsewhere.
Officials are expected to explore future uses of the structure as part of the Blueprint 220 initiative on facility needs. Kazmier said the district could consider selling the property at some point.