District 97 is eyeing the Foley Rice building at 711 Madison as the home for both its headquarters and storage and maintenance facility. The talks are only preliminary and other properties could also be considered, said district officials.

Dist. 97 and the Park District of Oak Park have been in talks about sharing space at a future site. Supt. Constance Collins said talks have been very preliminary with owners of the Foley Rice site and no site has been settled on.

The elementary school district owns both its 970 Madison St. headquarters and the 541 Madison warehouse outright. The two facilities were appraised last year-the headquarters at $2.37 million and the warehouse at $1.6 million. Collins said the district wants to sell both but doesn’t want a huge bill attached to a new location.

“We want to look at the cost and value of the building, but we also want to be fiscally responsible,” she said.

The Dist. 97 Facilities Committee will tour the Foley Rice building today. The former car dealership includes several buildings, including an old showroom at 644 Madison. Bob Spatz, a member of the Dist. 97 Board of Education and a member of the facilities committee, said any sale is contingent on the real estate market and needs of the park district.

“A win-win situation for us is that we do something that fits their plan and saves us money. Depending on the real estate market, that may or may not be feasible. We know the market is weaker, so we might be able to get a building that someone is looking to sell at a cheaper price.”

Spatz added that a lot depends on how much square footage the park district needs. Gary Balling, executive director of the Park District of Oak Park, said there have been discussions with Dist. 97 about sharing space but no talks as of yet concerning Foley Rice. The park district, he added, is looking for 6,500 square feet of space each for its Building and Grounds Department and gymnastics center.

Balling said some B&G equipment is located at Rehm Park with some of their trucks parked at available lots on Madison Stree, and the park district annually has kids on a waiting list to use the gymnastics center on Madison.

“The park district is open to the idea of sharing space,” he said. “If the right space becomes available, I’m sure the park district would consider it.”

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