GURNEE, Ill. (CBS) — A historic school that has long been a thorn in the side of Gurnee School District 56 is coming down.
WBBM Newsradio’s Veronica Carter reports Gurnee Grade School was built on a floodplain along the Des Plaines River in 1954, just 600 feet from the river, so it was prone to flooding.
District 56 Superintendent Dr. John Hutton said the building was constructed before the river’s floodplains were mapped.
“Most schools that old were built, it was land that was given to schools. That probably, at that time even, was not a good spot for anything else,” he said.
Each time the building flooded, the price tag for cleanup was around $300,000, according to Hutton.
“To save the building was costing us more than it would be to replace it, and that’s why FEMA became involved in it, too, because they do those same projections, and they determined the same thing,” Hutton said.
The school now sits vacant, replaced by a new building in January.
The land will be put to good use once the old building is torn down.
“We’re going to take that space and turn it into green space, soccer fields, parking areas … gardens, and it’s going to be a nice enhancement for the community.” Hutton said.
Bricks from the old building will be sold as souvenirs, starting Monday, when local, county, and state officials will gather for a ceremony to tear down the school.