District 97 Administration Building Project

Background and Goals
District 97 and the Village of Oak Park have come to terms on an agreement that will pave the way for the construction of a new administration building for the district. Under the agreement, District 97 and the village will swap properties, with the district receiving the rights to 260 Madison Street for the purpose of building a new facility and the village receiving the rights to 970 Madison Street (location of the district’s current administration building) for the purpose of redevelopment. In addition, the district will a receive 40-year rent-free lease for a portion of the village’s Public Works Center, which is where it will relocate its maintenance operations from their current location at 541 Madison Street. Like the space at 970 Madison Street, the property at 541 Madison Street will then become available for redevelopment opportunities.

The agreement serves as the culmination of the district’s six-year search to find a solution for replacing its outdated administration building. One of the options the district considered was renovating its existing space. However, the significance of the building’s existing problems (HVAC, roof, electrical, accessibility, etc.), the potential cost of renovations (at least $4 million), and the inefficiency and inflexibility of the space, which result in high operating expenses, made this a non-viable option. The other options the district explored during this time period included:

  • Current Park District administration building (218 Madison Street)
  • Parking lot behind Village Hall
  • 1010 Lake Street
  • Madison Highlands
  • 101 Madison Street
  • 260 Madison Street

After assessing and evaluating all of the options with the assistance of its citizen-led Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC), District 97 selected the 260 Madison Street site because it will enable the district to establish a functional facility that will help it fulfill its duties and responsibilities in the most cost-effective and prudent manner possible, while also producing operational and energy efficiencies that will generate cost savings and promote long-term sustainability. It will help the district better meet the needs of its families and serve the best interests of the community. It will also advance the Madison Street Plan by spurring economic growth and development on Madison Street, while also reducing the district’s footprint in Oak Park.

Below is a summary of what has been accomplished thus far in conjunction with the district’s building project, as well as information about upcoming events and activities. 
  • During its meeting on November 18, 2014, the District 97 Board of Education selected STR Partners, LLC to design the new administration building. STR was chosen following an assessment of the firm’s capacity and capabilities by FAC.
  • The district and village approved an intergovernmental agreement and lease agreement in December 2014 that finalized the deal to swap the properties at 260 Madison Street and 970 Madison Street, construct the district’s new administration building at 260 Madison Street and relocate the district’s maintenance operations to the village’s Public Works Center. The framework for the agreement was spelled out in a Memorandum of Understanding approved by both entities in October 2014.
  • STR and the district hosted two focus groups in December 2014, during which they collected feedback from community leaders about the technical elements of the project (design, construction, etc.). These leaders also shared their expectations for the new building, which included the desire for a facility that is environmentally friendly, serves as a community meeting center, expresses collaboration, is well built, offers flexible meeting spaces and sizes, and celebrates children and learning.
  • STR and the district will be hosting community meetings on February 5, 2015 and February 26, 2015, during which they will discuss the outcomes from the focus groups and share the design concepts. They will also give attendees the chance to weigh in on the concepts and offer suggestions for how the new facility can benefit the citizens of Oak Park.
  • The design phase of the project is scheduled to take place between February and June of 2015. The bid phase of the project is scheduled to occur in June and July of 2015. The construction phase of the project is scheduled to begin in August 2015 and be completed in June 2016.
Funding and Costs
The Madison Street TIF agreement was amended via the intergovernmental agreement approved by the district and the village, which will allow for the allocation of $6.3 million for the construction of the district’s new administration building. The costs of the project will be formalized during the bid phase being conducted in June and July of 2015.

Updates and Feedback
The district will post updates about the building project on this website. People can also provide feedback about the project by emailing [email protected].