HPC to School District: Consider Adaptive Re-Use of Coultrap; Forums Coming in June

HPC sends a respectful letter to School District 304 asking to preserve the building as an adaptive re-use. Meanwhile, School District 304 sets dates for community forums.

Members of Geneva's Historic Preservation Commission have drafted a letter to the Geneva School Board asking that board members consider an adaptive re-use rather than a teardown of the historic .

Community Development Director Dick Untch said Friday that the letter has been forwarded to Mayor Kevin Burns, but he wasn't sure whether the letter had reached School District 304 officials.

The letter emphasizes that the HPC has no formal authority in the matter, since the Coultrap facility at 1113 Peyton St., lies outside the Historic Preservation District.

"The commission basically asked the mayor to engage in some dialogue about the future of Coultrap," Untch said. "Maybe the obvious concern is to make sure if there is some opportunity to preserve at the least the older portions of the school building."

School Board President Mark Grosso announced at a May 14 School Board meeting that a and came to the conclusion that it should be demolished.

At the meeting, Grosso said the cost of renovations would be in the range of $2.3 million on the low end to $4.2 million on the high end.

"The task force came unanimously to the conclusion that the building should be demolished," Grosso said. "To even rehab it for any kind of usage would just be excessive. Too many things are in need of repair."

Untch said the HPC's letter was very respectful and recognizes the excellent working relationship between School District 304 and the city of Geneva.

"They certainly understand their authority is limited to the Historic District properties," he said. "That’s why they wanted to simply register their interest in whatever might be done to preserve the building moving forward."

The Board of Education will hold two community forums in June to receive input on the future of the Coultrap facility on Peyton Street and the administrative building on Fourth Street.

In May, district officials presented board members with four options for the Coultrap facility, which has not been used as a school since the 2008-09 school year. Three options would relocate the district’s administrative offices on Fourth Street to the Coultrap facility and would require major repairs/renovations to exterior walls, plumbing and electrical systems, School District 304 said in a Monday e-mail.

The fourth option presented is to demolish the building at an estimated cost of $861,813 and maintain the district’s administrative offices at the Fourth Street facility.

It costs $69,000 annually to operate Coultrap at a minimal level. Within the next three to five years the building will require major repairs estimated to cost $1.2 million to $1.6 million to bring it to proper working order.

The forums to gain public input will be held:

  • At 7 p.m. Monday, June 18, at the Coultrap facility, 1113 Peyton St. (The entrance is on Lincoln Street.)
  • 9 a.m. Saturday, June 23, at , 1812 Williamsburg Ave.

Those who are unable to attend the forums to provide comments may also do so through a comment form placed on the School District website. This form can be reached beginning June 12, 2012, through the news section on the homepage or by clicking on “Board of Education.”

Community members are also welcome to provide comments to the Board via e-mail at board@geneva304.org.

Dwight Swartwood June 11, 2012 at 08:44 PM
This should be strictly a financial decIsion. District 304 is a Third Of A Billion $'s in debt, and this does not include the nearly $100 Million a year in Operating Costs. Taxpayers are not able to take on more debt.
G.Ryan June 12, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Folks the building is not structurally sound so how can you declare this a monument? It is a monument of mounting DEBT. Time to let go of history and make historical trends to "For Sale the Ole Trap" and use its proceeds to pay down our 300 MILLION DEBT!!! Fiscal common sense when will that make history here in Geneva????????
Stacy June 12, 2012 at 02:42 AM
The Coultrap location makes it important to the high school D304 will NEVER have the chance to recoup that land if they choose to sell. If they want to demolish Coultrap and let the land sit until the District can figure out to do with the space, then so be it. If the HPC wants to chip in and find a way to contribute funds to save it, so be it. However, the 4th street school needs to be sold to a developer. Why can't the D304 Admin offices be relocated to the upstairs portion of Fabyan? If there's so much room there, maybe they should be using that space as well and leave everything else alone. That building is new and should have everything they need, seems like some cost saving could be done there.
Martina Natoma June 12, 2012 at 10:34 PM
If the community supports the HPC proposal, let HPC sell their ideas to the public and ask the community to voluntarily open their wallets. It has happened in many communities, (for much more costly ventures), but something tells me that this is not a "cause celeb" for most Geneva taxpayers.


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