The Lyons Township High School District 204 shares information below regarding a potential sale of the District’s Willow Springs property, located near 79th Street and Willow Springs Road. If the Board decides to sell the property, the District would likely use the sale proceeds to make key investments and upgrades to its facilities, as outlined in the District’s Strategic Plan.
August 8, 2023
Last night, at our Committee of the Whole meeting, the Lyons Township High School District 204 Board of Education discussed the six-month moratorium established by the Village of Willow Springs, which states that they will not consider proposals for any development within the North Willow Springs Road Corridor Planned Development as they study and evaluate current zoning, as well as consider potential additional regulations and restrictions, for this site.
Specifically, the Board discussed the possible implications of the ordinance and potential next steps regarding the 72-acres of undeveloped District-owned land within the Planned Development site. The YouTube video of the full meeting is available here.
Following this discussion, the Board authorized the Superintendent to gather information on the services provided by and make a recommendation regarding the potential engagement of a land use consultant to examine the current zoning and help the District better understand all available options for this property. Board President Dawn Aubert will also participate in this fact-finding effort. Findings from this process will be shared with the full Board for discussion and potential action at its Monday, August 21, 2023 Regular Action meeting.
The District 204 Board and Administration are committed to establishing a more transparent and intentional approach to our communications and decision-making on this matter. We are grateful to the community members, trustees, Board members and senior administrators from the Village of Willow Springs, Pleasantdale Park District and Pleasantdale School District 107 who attended and to all those who shared feedback at last night’s meeting.
The potential sale of this property would allow for the District to make key investments and upgrades to both our school facilities and educational programs through both the initial purchase and ongoing tax revenues to both District 204 and other municipal bodies in our community. It is our intent to work collaboratively with the Village and our other municipal partners as we consider the future use of this property based on the shared needs and priorities of both our schools, students and community.
Please continue to visit our website and review the Board Briefs newsletter sent after each meeting to stay informed about this process. The Board also welcomes written comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, thank you for your support of Lyons Township District 204 schools and students.
Why did the school district originally buy the property?
District 204 purchased the property in two separate parcels in 1955 (38 acres) and 1962 (31.75 acres), in anticipation of the District needing a third school building. A third parcel (2.57 acres) was donated to District 204 in 2010.
What will be the sale price?
The sale price will be determined by the bidders for the property through a sealed bid process. The Board will set a minimum bid below which the property cannot be sold.
Why is now the right time to sell the property?
It is impossible to know when is the exact right time to sell, but there have been expressions of interest over the years for this property by outside parties. Recent indications from the market suggest the property’s value has increased significantly.
How would a sale benefit LT students?
If the Board decides to sell the property, the District would likely use the sale proceeds to make key investments and upgrades to its facilities, as outlined in the District’s STRATEGIC PLAN. LTHS has a goal to allocate the resources necessary to maximize success for all students. Proceeds from the potential property sale would contribute to demonstrable progress toward achieving this goal.
What conclusions can be drawn from the recent enrollment study?
The most recent enrollment conducted in District 204 was by John Kasarda, consulting demographer, in summer 2022. The study’s 68-page report begins with a review of housing development and demographic dynamics for the area as a whole.
Dr. Kasarda then examined the effects of those dynamics and student migration/transfer patterns on enrollment changes within our associate schools. From there, he projected future 8th grade enrollment, by year, through 2035-36. Finally, Dr. Kasarda analyzed recent student migration and transfer data for LTHS and compared it to the associate school projections to predict enrollment projections for LT through 2036-37.
The projections are then presented in three series based on assumptions about local births, new residential development, turnover of existing housing, and resulting migration of families with preschool and school-aged children.
Series A assumes future new residential development and housing turnover is less than currently anticipated.
Series B assumes future new residential development and housing turnover occurs as currently anticipated.
Series C assumes future new residential development and housing turnover is greater than currently anticipated.
Dr. Kasarda’s report ultimately concludes that LT’s total projected enrollment for Series A would fall in the range of 3,418 to 3,824. For Series B, the total projected enrollment would fall in the range of 3,736 to 3,905. For Series C, the total projected enrollment would fall in the range of 3,936 to 4,315.
To view the complete enrollment study, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
Following the announcement that the Board is considering a sale, what would the process be if the Board decides to sell the property?
If the Board of Education decides to pursue sale of the Willow Springs property, the Board would vote on a resolution at an upcoming meeting to approve the process of selling the property. Approval of the resolution requires an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of the Board.
Following approval of the resolution, the Board must publish notice of the sale three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation. Following the publication period, the Board will collect the bids (more fully described below) and conduct a bid opening.
Who would handle the sale on behalf of LT?
The sale of the property will be conducted through a sealed bid process, which is one of the legally permissible methods for an Illinois school district to sell property. Following the sealed bid process, the Board of Education could approve the final sale once bids are received.
Will there be any contingencies on the sale?
The sale contract will involve standard contingencies that will allow the contract purchaser to investigate the suitability of the site for its planned development and to allow for a process for any zoning changes and development approvals to be secured through the Village of Willow Springs.
Has the property been appraised?
Yes, an appraisal report can BE FOUND HERE.
What is the current zoning on the property?
The property is currently zoned as “NWSRC-PD, North Willow Springs Road Corridor - Planned Development District.”
Is there a way to preserve the green space at the property?
How the property is ultimately developed is up to the contract purchaser and the Village of Willow Springs. The contract purchaser will need to follow the development approval process laid out in village ordinances and the Illinois Municipal Code. Preservation of green space is one factor the village may consider in the final development plan for the property.
Are there surveys of the land available?
The District has secured a survey of the property by a registered Illinois land surveyor. However, the completed survey is not immediately available for the public.
What happens after the Board approves the sale?
Following Board approval of the sale of the property, the contract purchaser will need to engage with the Village of Willow Springs to seek any zoning changes or other land use approvals to develop the property. The Board of Education will not be involved in that process, as it is solely within the jurisdiction of the village to approve any changes to the current zoning, any special use permits or variances to current zoning, and to issue building permits for a future development.
The village approval process will involve public hearings and include input from the community. The timeline for the contract purchaser to secure any changes to current zoning and development approvals would likely be several months.