DANVILLE — Holy Family School could reopen next fall as the home of Danville school district's alternative education programs.
Danville school board members on Wednesday will vote on whether to approve a 17-month lease agreement with Holy Family Church for the property at 502 E. Main St., which includes an option to buy.
The board will meet at 6:30 p.m Wednesday at the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St., Danville. A copy of the agenda is available online at http://bit.ly/tsTCLY .
Superintendent Mark Denman said the building would allow the district to bring all of its alternative-education classrooms under one roof, a district goal for many years. He said the proposal would also benefit the church and community.
"It's a valuable building that's basically going unused at this time," Denman said of the school. "We would put it to good use, and it would benefit our children."
Under a recommendation from the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, Holy Family School closed in May, and the pre-K through 8 school merged with St. Paul's School and Schlarman High School to form Schlarman Academy, which opened at the St. Paul's and Schlarman sites in August.
Under the lease, which would run Feb. 1 through June 30, 2013, the district would pay the church $18,000 in rent.
The district would have the option to purchase the property for $246,200. The rent and $120,000 in earnest money, which the district would pay upon written notification of its intent to buy, would go toward the purchase price.
As a condition of the closing, the church would demolish the original St. Patrick's School building, the two-story building on west end of the property, and transfer electrical services from the old building to the remaining one.
"We don't need that area," the district's Buildings and Grounds Director Ron Henton said of the original structure that was dedicated in 1891. "With a building that old, you could have problems with the basement or structural issues at some point. It would be one less problem to have."
Henton said the newer addition on the east side has about 12,000 square feet of spacious classrooms, offices, a gymnasium, kitchen and cafeteria, restrooms, furniture, a security system and air conditioning. "It's pretty much move-in ready," he said, adding the district would have to clean the building, possibly do some painting and install telephones, computer systems and classroom technology to prepare it for students and staff by August.
The alternative education programs currently have about 14 staffers,130 full-time students and 40 to 50 students in the Truant's Alternative and Optional Education Program. The high school preparatory and TAOEP programs are run in the basement of the Jackson Building, which houses the district's administrative offices, and the middle school prep and special education alternative programs are run at the Laura Lee Fellowship House.
"We've had some great community partners," Principal Tracy Cherry said, adding programs also have been held at Fair Oaks, the Boys and Girls Club of Danville, a business complex in the 800 block of North Vermilion Street and other locations in the past. "But it's difficult to try to accommodate our students' needs when we're spread out in different locations. And we really need more space."
Cherry said housing all of the programs at one site has been part of the district's alternative education programming plan for several years.
"It's really the last piece of the plan that hasn't been implemented," she said. "We're really excited about this opportunity ... and getting a chance to expand our programs and increase the number of students that we serve" in the future.