GLENWOOD | The Brookwood Elementary District 167 board will explore its options in locating a new middle school as it learned this week that some land it had eyed is owned by the village and it would take some time to vacate it.
Village President Kerry Durkin attended the Wednesday meeting and said the school district recently had contacted the village about the right of way of Eberhardt Avenue. The developed stretch of that road serves three houses, located just southeast of the middle school property.
"The village of Glenwood had no idea that it owned the right of way of Eberhardt," Durkin said.
District 167 Superintendent Valorie Moore said the district had believed the street belonged to Bloom Township, and Durkin said the township has been plowing it.
Durkin said while the Village Board could decide to vacate Eberhardt Avenue, it is not that simple a matter.
"Four of my trustees have told me they voted no on your referendum," Durkin said. "Four trustees is enough to stop this building from going in that spot."
Durkin said it could take some time for the village to make a decision on Eberhardt and the village engineer is expected to provide options at the next scheduled Village Board meeting.
The school district has more than one option of its own, since it owns not only the property on which the current middle school sits, but also the adjacent land that used to house the Glenwood-Lynwood Library.
"Eberhardt bisects the lot west and east," architect Mario Planera told the board. "The eastern portion is bigger than the western portion."
School Board President Deborah Birmingham asked Planera if there would be a need to use Eberhardt Avenue if the old middle school is torn down to build on that land.
Planera recommended proceeding with the plan to build on the eastern side of Eberhardt, stating that the property where the middle school sits is a bit smaller and more constricted.
"It doesn't give us the freedom that we would prefer," Planera said. "But there's available land there to build this school, and then once the existing school is demolished it opens up some open land and helps create or provide better circulation in and out the site."
Planera said the district can pave over the Eberhardt right of way, but cannot build on it as long as it is village property.
Moore asked Planera how long it would take for an architect to create a design of the new school and the related preliminary drawings.
"The preliminary phase can take as much as two to three months," Planera said. "To take the project out to bid can take as much as nine months to a year."
Planera also explained what the architect's role would be in the construction process and outlined the different building methods the district could choose for delivery of services.
Voters approved a November referendum proposal for sale of bonds to raise $15.8 million for a new building to replace Brookwood Middle School.
The School Board also voted to pay $100 monthly to keep the law firm of Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick and Kohn, LLC on retainer to provide real estate legal advice until the building project is complete.
"We want to minimize the amount of liability on behalf of the board," Moore said.