By Terry Dean
As District 97 continues its search for a new central office location, officials there are now taking a look at a four-story commercial building on Madison and Taylor as a possible site.
The 101 Madison property is currently on the market and D97 is interested in learning more about it, says Bob Spatz, president of the D97 school board. The building was suggested by the Oak Park Development Corporation, Spatz said. The district, he stressed, is just doing its due-diligence in considering all options for a new administration building.
The four-story Madison property has the space — roughly 15,000 square feet — and adequate parking the district is looking for, Spatz said. The price-tag for the property is $639,000. The first-floor currently has retail and office space with 29 parking spots in the rear. The upper floors have additional office space.
Spatz said he and a few other D97 officials will do a walk-through of the building in the next couple weeks. D97 is looking to downsize from its current 970 Madison headquarters, Spatz said. That building covers about 20,000 square feet, including an almost hidden second floor. D97 administrators have been housed there since the 1970s.
Officials have been looking for a new home since the late 2000s, just before the housing market crashed. The district is still looking at the parking lot at village hall as a possible site, Spatz said, as well as other options.
The plan remains to sell the 970 Madison building, as well as the district's 541 Madison warehouse, once a new headquarters is found, Spatz said. Relocating the district's maintenance operations to the village's public works building remains an option, but there have been no recent talks with the village about that, Spatz said.
In related news, Spatz said the district has received pricing information from developers of the Madison Highlands office project about possibly moving there, but wasn't at liberty to say what that amount is.
The proposed Madison Highlands commercial property would house several tenants, D97 among them. Spatz calls a possible move there "feasible" but only if the price is right.
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