The main administrative office for Brookfield-LaGrange Park Elementary School District 95 is heading off campus.

At its Aug. 27 meeting, the District 95 school board voted 4 to 1 to enter into a contract to buy the small office building at 3724 Prairie Ave., which now houses architect Paul Straka’s office, for $225,000. 

The deal is expected to close in 30 to 60 days.

Board member Michelle Maggos voted against purchasing the building. Maggos said that she voted against buying the building, because moving the district office off campus wouldn’t immediately result in new classroom space.

“It was very costly so I voted no,” said Maggos, who noted the building is on the southern edge of the district.

Sometime next year, Superintendent Mark Kuzniewski, Executive Assistant Laura Gertsmeir and Bookkeeper Lisa Veon will move from their current office at S.E. Gross Middle School to their new digs on Prairie Avenue.

Kuzniewski said the district will put up a couple of new walls to create a conference room, put in new carpeting and splash on a fresh coat of the paint, but they won’t have to do much more before moving into the roughly 1,600-square-foot brick building next year.

Other top district officials, such as Jeanie Zeitlin, the assistant superintendent of instructional services, and Cathy Cannon, the director of teaching and learning, will remain based at S.E. Gross.

Kuzniewski said that the district office is being moved off campus to make way for more classroom space as Gross Middle School copes with rising enrollment. The office that Kuzniewski, Gertsmeir and Veon currently use will first become the new home of the technology department, which is currently taking up classroom space. 

The move will open up one old science classroom space and an office, Kuzniewski said.

“It gives S.E. Gross access to a classroom starting next school year when we are running short on classroom space,” Kuzniewski said.

Eventually Kuzniewski would like to use the space that now houses the district office as part of a new cafeteria or combination lunchroom/auditorium “cafetorium” space at Gross.

“The district office was going to have to move at some point,” Kuzniewski said. “Short term, we gain a classroom. Long term … when it comes time to renovate and add we have the ability to do so without having to find a home for the district office.”

Straka, 75, is retiring. He has had his office on Prairie Avenue for 12 years. He redesigned the building when he bought it.

“It was practically a teardown,” Straka said.

Straka, who has lived in Riverside for the past 51 years, specialized in church work, but also did residential work and nursing homes. 

“Years and years ago I renovated St. Mary’s [in Riverside], before the present renovation,” Straka said. “And I installed the elevator at Mater Christi [in North Riverside] and I think I’ve done some work at St. Barbara [in Brookfield].”

Straka also designed the renovation of St. Francis Xavier Church in LaGrange.

Of the new buildings that he designed, he is most proud of St. Mary Church in Mokena, the St. Procopius Abbey in Lisle and St. Daniel the Prophet in Wheaton.

Straka, who is recovering from neck surgery, said he might continue to do some work.

“I’m doing some small work and I may continue independently to do that, not on an aggressive basis” Straka said.

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