Fenwick High School hopes to move forward with its long-term expansion plan this summer, which includes demolishing two residential buildings adjacent to the school to make room for a surface parking lot.

The two buildings are located at 423-425 and 427-429 S. Scoville Ave. 

Representatives of the school will take their proposal to the Oak Park Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2, at village hall, 123 Madison St. The ZBA will provide a recommendation to the Oak Park Board of Trustees, which will determine whether to allow the project.

Nancy Bufalino, Fenwick’s chief operating officer, said in a telephone interview that the temporary surface parking lot will provide about 30 parking spaces.

The proposal is part of a larger redevelopment plan proposed by the school in 2015, which includes eventually building a parking structure on the parcels of land where the two residential buildings now stand. Bufalino could not immediately say how many levels the parking structure would have, but it will be about the same height of the school to the north.

The redevelopment plan for the school, which is likely not to begin for several more years, envisions a major overhaul of the school campus, reorienting the school to face Madison Street. Fenwick told the ZBA in 2015 that it also plans to build a new band room, choir room and cafeteria. 

Fenwick might be in need of new parking spaces over the next few years as the village gets closer to redeveloping its own parking lot at the corner of South Oak Park Avenue and Madison Street. The village currently rents dozens of spots in that lot to Fenwick for its students and faculty.

Altogether, Fenwick now parks at some 280 spots provided by the village at that corner lot and elsewhere near the school.

“We’ve been working with [the village] on a year-by-year basis,” Bufalino said, noting the demolition of the two residential buildings later this summer. 

Fenwick continues its capital fundraising plan for the expansion project, she added. 

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com

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