The buildings at Dominican University's Priory Campus are seen on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in River Forest, Ill. | ALEX ROGALS/Staff Photographer

Fenwick High School entered into a purchase and sale agreement Dec. 3 with Dominican University for the university’s Priory Campus, beating out Oak Park and River Forest High School and several other entities vying for the multi-acre parcel, according to a press release issued by the university on the same day. 

Over the summer, Fenwick, which has long leased the athletic fields surrounding Priory Campus from the Dominican Friars religious order, was among a group of organizations that expressed interest in the property and submitted a letter of intent

Dominican President Glena Temple and Vice President of Finance and Administration Mark Titzer said they could not disclose the names of other organizations which submitted letters of intent or the total number of letters they received for confidentiality reasons. The two also said they were unable to reveal the sale price of Priory Campus for reasons of confidentiality. 

According to a previous report by Wednesday Journal, Priory Campus, a 7.6-acre lot located at 7200 Division St. in River Forest, has been appraised at $8 million

Under the agreement’s due-diligence clause, Fenwick has 120 days, or four months, to assess the site. That includes physical inspections and “imagining” the site’s potential uses, Titzer said. The news release clarified that “pending approvals and subject to closing, the sale is expected to be finalized in the spring.” That clause, said Titzer, “allows the buyer [a period of time] to fully understand and explore all aspects of the property before the person actually closes.” 

Asked why Dominican picked Fenwick among the pool of potential buyers, Temple said Fenwick was the “best partner.” Meeting sale and land-use expectations and agreeing to extend the lease of the university’s early childcare center, which is located on Priory Campus, were among a list of considerations, and Fenwick continued to come out on top, she said. Temple added Fenwick also remained committed to keeping Priory’s historic buildings. 

“I’m obviously excited about this,” said Temple. “We’ve been working on this for a while, and it feels like a wonderful opportunity for Dominican, for Fenwick, for River Forest and for future collaboration for all of us.” 

In a press release issued Dec. 3 by Fenwick, President Richard Peddicord said the school has yet to decide how to use Priory Campus. Peddicord once told Wednesday Journal the lot could be used for additional space for administrative or athletic offices, spiritual retreats or Fenwick arts and music programs. 

In addition to the sale agreement with Dominican University, Fenwick also announced its plans to purchase the athletic fields that it leased from the Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great. The athletic fields total out to 11 acres of land, and if Fenwick were to acquire those fields, in addition to Priory Campus, the Oak Park Catholic high school could own 18 acres, the press release noted. 

“We don’t yet know exactly what all the uses of the land and Priory will be, but much like our predecessors in the Fenwick community who didn’t know what the future would hold for Fenwick High School, we know this is something significant,” Peddicord said in the release. “We know that this sets Fenwick on a path for even greater future success. We know this was simply too good an opportunity to forego.”

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