Many support plan new school on Oak Brook Sports Core
Superintendent Sandra Martin of Butler Elementary District 53 talks during a Nov. 12 community meeting on the facilities future of the district. | Chuck Fieldman—Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 14, 2013 4:46PM
OAK BROOK — There appears to be support for a new school on the Sports Core.
Residents attending three community meetings on the topic of the facilities future of Butler Elementary District 53 offered relatively strong support for the plan.
“Overall, it looks like there is pretty good support for this plan,” said board President Alan Hanzlik. “Our next step would be to put more specific information together about costs and what else would be necessary to pursue a referendum in April.”
Those attending the meetings were asked to mark their preference on survey cards for one of three options: repairing and keeping both Butler Junior High and Brook Forest Elementary, closing Brook Forest and adding on to Butler Junior High to create one K-8 school, and building a new K-8 school on 6-8 acres of the 285-acre Sports Core, which is owned by the village.
The board recommends the third option. The properties on which Butler Junior High and Brook Forest Elementary schools are located would be sold if a new school is built.
Survey results through the first two meetings indicated support for building a new school on Sports Core property by about a 3-1 margin, said Hanzlik, who added survey results from Monday’s meeting were not yet added.
A decision to pursue the plan of a new school on Sports Core property would mean two referendums on the April 9 ballot.
The first referendum, for all Oak Brook voters, would seek voter approval for District 53 to purchase the Sports Core property.
The second referendum, only for voters living within District 53 boundaries, would seek approval for the sale of $15 million in bonds to help fund the building of a new school.
While there was support voiced by some of the nearly 100 people who showed up for the Nov. 12 meeting, there also was strong opposition voiced by others, including former Village President Karen Bushy.
Hanzlik said a provision exists for the village to sell up to 85 acres of Sports Core property if the move is approved by referendum. However, Bushy, who was on a village committee that worked for the 1977 purchase of the Sports Core property, said the space should remain open.
“The Sports Core wasn’t bought to be a land bank for others to salivate over it,” Bushy said. “The promise to the community was to keep it open.”