It took a little longer than expected, but Riverside Elementary School District 96 has purchased the house at 92 Repton Road, which is located just east of Ames School. And the district saved a few dollars in the process.

District 96 entered the only bid for the house last week at a foreclosure auction held in downtown Chicago by Judicial Sales Corporation. District 96’s bid of $339,100 was accepted by the auctioneer. JPMorgan Chase, which had foreclosed on the home’s former owner, was in possession of the property. The district is paying an additional $300 in fees to complete the purchase.

In August, District 96 had entered a contract to pay the former owner $343,822.18, but a judge ordered the foreclosure auction to proceed because the bank had apparently already taken possession of the house. 

“I think we got a pretty good deal,” said District 96 school board President Jeffrey Miller who attended the auction with a district lawyer. “We’re very excited. No one else bid, so we were very lucky to get it. We saved a little bit of money.”

Miller said the district will save a few additional dollars because it had agreed to pay all the seller’s closing costs under the August agreement.

The school district plans to demolish the house sometime next year but the school board has yet to determine how it will use the new property. Options include building an addition to Ames, expanding the Ames playground, some combination of the two, or some other use.

District 96 recently hired a new architectural firm, DLA Architects, to undertake a master facilities planning process for the school district. 

“What buying this property does for the district is it gives us options,” Miller said. “Because the district is landlocked, previously if we decided to expand a bit it would have been very hard to do because we didn’t have many good places to do that.”

DLA and the district will seek community input by holding focus group meetings at each of the district’s five schools in the next few months.

Previously, the district had planned to create a district-wide committee to consider facilities usage and needs, but ultimately decided to seek community input through focus groups and meetings instead.

“Partially it was recommendation from DLA and it makes sense to me because it’s really a way of bringing more voices to the table,” said District 96 Superintendent Martha Ryan-Toye. “We think we can get more people to turn out for a particular evening or to complete a survey or both than to sit on a committee for an extended period of time.”