LEMONT – To determine the future of the closed Central School and adjacent parking lot, the District 113A school board moved to form an ad hoc committee during its June 5 meeting.
“We need to investigate thoroughly what our options are,” board president Cindy Kelly said.
New board member Patrick Kerrigan will head the committee, which also is expected to consist of board member Mike Aurelio, director of operations Pam Mazurek, business manager Barbara Germany, superintendent Susan Birkenmaier and a principal.
Birkenmaier said because the district still is paying for upkeep of the building and utilities, they need to make a decision on the school.
She said the district does not have any plans for use of the building or preference on whether to keep, lease or sell the property.
“This committee is starting with a blank slate,” she said.
Birkenmaier’s initial suggestion was to wait until the fall for the committee to meet because of the hectic schedules some key district administrators have during the summer. But Kerrigan did not want to wait.
“Whatever the options are, if we push it off to the fall, a roof renovation can’t start in the middle of December,” Kerrigan said.
For the building to be used, the district will need to repair or replace the roof, which is more than 50 years old, administrators said.
Kerrigan said the committee will hold discussions with officials from the village of Lemont, real estate professionals and contractors to get answers on what the best direction for the district will be.
“I’d like to get some sort of direction by the fall,” he said.
Aurelio was a new member on the board when they voted unanimously to close the school at the end of the 2010-11 school year. He said the district was in the middle of financial turmoil then, but he now regrets voting to close the school.
“I regret closing an asset and receiving no utility out of it whatsoever,” he said.
Aurelio said when making a decision about the school, he wants “to be mindful of the taxpayers’ hard-earned money.”
“I would like to see all assets be used in a useful way.”