The District 202 School Board approved a proposal on July 20 to purchase for $340,000 a house and property at1742-44 Lemar Ave.
, adjacent to the Evanston Township High School‘s football field and nature center.
William Stafford, District 202 chief financial officer, said the owners of the property approached the high school after they came into possession of it after the death of the previous owner, a family member. The funds to purchase the house would come from the 2010 Operations and Maintenance Fund.
Mr. Stafford said the 4,704-square-foot home is in “well-maintained condition” with “no functional or external obsolescence noted.” It also has three large garages where District vehicles could be parked and numerous bins and structures which would provide much-needed storage for the District.
The property’s proximity to the nature center offers further advantages to the District, Mr. Stafford said: “One of the ongoing issues with the nature center is the need for more storage of equipment, access to electricity and security. The Lemar property would … provide easy access to store equipment and … to install security cameras. There is also the potential to … have some science offices in the building.”
Other science-related curriculum projects that could be housed on the property include a training center for summer science projects, an educational center for D65 summer students, a demonstration site for solar construction and garden projects and for construction of science equipment.
Maria Smith, the District’s new director of special education believes that the building also offers the possibility to teach life skills to 18-22 year old special-needs students. She developed a similar program in her former district. “Students would be taught how to develop household budgets, shop, cook, clean both clothes and rooms in the house,” according to the proposal. Ms. Smith said that this type of program would require some planning and working with students and their parents in IEP programs. Mr. Stafford said that another advantage of using the property for special education purposes is that money from the Federal Stimulus program could be used to rehabilitate the property. “This is one-time money and this would be an excellent use of it,” he reported.
The District’s purchase of the property would take it off the tax rolls, Mr. Stafford acknowledged, and said that filing procedures will commence shortly.