EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) — Students at the esteemed Roycemore School in Evanston will be reporting to a new building when classes resume after winter break, for the first time since the school opened in 1915.
Beginning Jan. 3, the private school will be open at its new location at 1200 Davis St. just west of downtown Evanston.
The school, which offers classes from junior kindergarten through high school, is leaving its home at 640 Lincoln St. in far northeast Evanston. This coming Friday is the last day of classes at the old building.
The old Roycemore building was constructed 96 years ago on land owned by Northwestern University, which decided not renew its 99-year lease to the school when it expires in 2014. Northwestern says it needs additional space of its own to expand, the Daily Northwestern reported.
Northwestern gave Roycemore notice back in the mid-1990s that the lease would not be renewed, so as to provide plenty of time for the school to relocate, the Daily Northwestern reported back in Janaury.
The new Roycemore building, located on Davis Street between Asbury and Ridge avenues, formerly housed the General Board of Pension Funds for the United Methodist Church, according to the Daily Northwestern.
The school has been posting progress updates on the new building on its Web site. As part of the massive project, crews gutted the existing Davis Street building and reconfigured its spaces for classrooms, a media center, a multi-purpose room and offices.
The school also constructed of a new, full-size gymnasium in the rear of the existing building.
By the start of this month, the school was near completion, with whiteboards and bulletin boards even installed in classrooms.
In its new, larger quarters, Roycemore also plans to expand enrollment.
And as for the old Roycemore building, preservationists need not worry – it won’t be torn down.
The building has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1987, for its open Prairie-style floor plan by architect Lawrence Buck. It is also part of the Evanston Historic District, and thus, the City of Evanston must approve any changes to the structure, the Daily Northwestern reported.
But the U-1 zoning for the area means that the university is free to reuse the space for classrooms, faculty offices or dorms, among other uses, the Daily Northwestern reported in January.
Earlier this year, some neighbors expressed concerns about the possibility of the old Roycemore building being turned into a dorm or frat house, citing the likelihood of late-night noise and rowdiness disrupting the surrounding residential neighborhood, the Evanston Patch reported.
Northwestern has not released any recent updates on its plans for the old Roycemore building.
Roycemore opened as an all-girls’ college preparatory school in 1915, and went co-ed in 1962. Currently, the school enrolls 257 students from Chicago, Evanston and the other North Shore suburbs.