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By Devin Rose
The Park District of Oak Park (PDOP) and School District 97 could share administrative space in either one of their current Madison Street headquarters, the vacant Volvo building on the same street or the current parking lot at village hall, board members from both entities said at a meeting Thursday.
Those options were detailed in a presentation by D97's Facilities Advisory Committee at a meeting last month, but most PDOP board members hadn't seen them yet. Board members from both entities have said sharing facilities would save money and reduce the footprint of the two entities.
D97 board President Peter Barber said the school district has been delaying maintenance on its building at 970 Madison St. for 8-10 years in an effort to save money, but something needs to be done. Supt. Al Roberts added that when D97 moved into the building almost 40 years ago, it likely wasn't seen as a permanent solution.
A renovation of the current D97 building would free up the park district building at 218 Madison St. which could then potentially go back on the tax rolls, said D97 board member Denise Sacks. There would also be a possibility for expansion space there, and construction of underground parking would limit parking impact on the adjacent residential neighborhood.
Renovation would cost $3.2 million, while construction of a new two-story building would cost $6.2 million. New construction costs could include either $1.3 million for an underground parking lot or $100,000 for off-street parking.
A renovation of the current park district building would cost $2.8 million and off-street parking would be $150,000, according to the presentation. If that building is chosen, the D97 building would be sold and returned to the tax rolls.
But 218 Madison would not provide expansion space and current space there is already minimal.
Since square footage is inadequate at the vacant former Volvo dealership at 260 Madison St., a new building would have to be constructed to fit D97 and off-street parking would cost another $200,000. This option would free up the district's current building for new revenue production.
Choosing the option of building on the current village hall parking lot would free up two non-taxed properties and the footprint of the new building, expected to cost $6.2-$6.8 million, could be smaller because of shared services with the village. Existing green space could be increased because such a project would include underground parking, which would cost $3.5 million. Facilities would be more centralized with this option, Sacks said.
After a presentation of options, the boards went into executive session to discuss potential leasing and purchase of property. Park district interim Executive Director Matt Ellmann said no action was taken on the matter and there will likely be more discussions between the two boards. He said incoming Executive Director Jan Arnold may determine when it will appear on a future agenda.
Answer Book 2018
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