Lake Zurich Unit District 95 plans to consolidate its administrative offices, IT operation and teacher training spaces in one unique location: a vacant Sears Hardware building.
District 95 spokeswoman Jean Malek said officials think the move to 832 S. Rand Road will create efficiencies by having those officials and amenities in the same building. The district now mainly operates out of the administrative center at 400 S. Old Rand Road, which isn't large enough to suit its needs, Malek said.
For example, teacher training has been done at Middle School North until this year. But growing enrollment at the school forced officials to move professional development to a rented space in the strip mall near the Sears Hardware building. Also, Malek said the IT department has never been part of the main administration center.
Other benefits of moving to the Sears facility include being able to store documents the district is legally required to keep in a single space without having to pay external renting costs. It can also better provide space for meetings of staffs from across the district or parent and community meetings.
The move also benefits the village, according to Assistant Village Manager Roy T. Witherow. Even though the old Sears building won't generate sales taxes, District 95 will bring more people to the Deerpath Court shopping center, Witherow said.
"I think it will generate some density and traffic in that center and be much better than a vacant building," he said.
Until District 95 submitted its plan, the roughly 23,000-square-foot Sears Hardware building was the largest vacant retail property in the village. The store closed in summer 2015, community development director Sarosh Saher said.
A West Coast developer was interested in the space last year but decided to pursue other options, Saher said.
Malek said the move is scheduled for late spring, but the date is tentative.
The District 95 plan was approved by the school board in September, and officials entered into a lease-to-own agreement with the current owner.
The building's owner will renovate the former store to meet district needs. District 95 will pay $26,083 per month in rent from when it moves in until April 2024, at which point it will have the option to buy the building for an additional $2 million.
District 95 estimated that construction of a new building that would provide what the Sears Hardware building will offer would cost around $5.9 million.
Malek said officials will likely look to sell the current administration building after the move is completed.