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Could Waldorf Be Coming To Andersonville? It's Officially Possible Now

By Josh McGhee | May 2, 2017 9:15am | Updated on May 3, 2017 8:34am
 Myles Kolama, 14, an eighth grader who just graduated from Trumbull Elementary, said the school closing
Myles Kolama, 14, an eighth grader who just graduated from Trumbull Elementary, said the school closing "doesn't feel good."
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DNAinfo/Adeshina Emmanuel

ANDERSONVILLE — The Chicago Board of Education approved changes allowing "a privately funded, non-public school" to use the former Trumbull School building in Andersonville.

The small tweak is good news for the Waldorf School, which has shown interest in the building even after losing the bidding war with Svigos Asset, the current contract purchaser.

"Chicago Waldorf was pleased to see the Board of Education restore the original permitted uses which were outlined in the [Request For Proposal] process," said Luke Goodwin, administrative director for the school at 1300 W. Loyola Ave. "We continue to have interest in the Trumbull property as our future home if the property can be acquired on the right terms."

While the original report stated that "the building must be used for a mixed use development incorporating" a maximum of 49 units and a Chicago-based theater, the new report added the possibility of a private school to its use restrictions.

The original document fom Sept. 2015 is available here. The revised board report from the April meeting is available here.

The changes to the Board Reports were made Wednesday at the Chicago Board of Education's April meeting, where the sale of three other schools shuttered in 2013 were approved, including the former home to Courtenay Language Arts Center.

Earlier this year, Ald. Pat O'Connor (40th) said the option of adding a non-charter school was on the table, but it didn't appear on the February agenda.

Monday, he said the document now reflects what was determined during the initial proposal process and called the update "a fail-safe in case [Svigos] is unable to find a theater group" to fill the first floor of the building.

Now, if the initial plan falls through, "Waldorf or a school like Waldorf" could take ownership of the building, said O'Connor, adding that Svigos is still "really interested in getting their project off the ground," but it hasn't been an "easy task."

In Sept. 2015, the Chicago Board of Education approved the sale of the building to Svigos, but in September of last year, TimeLine Theatre backed out of the deal after "a complex, year-long collaboration to develop financial and architectural plans" that met both groups' desires failed to produce a viable development plan.

The theater's Artistic Director PJ Powers said the developer requirements for Federal Tax credits lead to some "dealbreaker issues."

Since then, Svigos has had a difficult time finding a new theater group to partner with and has said "there may not be enough profit in the project."