School Closing Discussions Continue In Summit Hill

December 20, 2023 0 By JohnValbyNation

FRANKFORT, IL — Discussion continues about possible school closings for Summit Hill School District 161. The Board of Education is set to meet on Dec. 20, and a legal notice of public hearing for the meeting states that school buildings considered for closure are Frankfort Square School and Arbury Hills School.

According to the District FAQ, this process of school closure consideration was started years ago, when the district began to see continued declining student enrollment.

“What was once a 3,600+ student District, now rests at 2,433 students in 2023,” the District said, adding that enrollment will again decline next year.

Find out what's happening in Frankfortwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Previous public hearing notices had listed Indian Trail School as an option for closure, but it is no longer listed for the Dec. 20 meeting.

The District FAQ states that it has approached the Board attorney to determine the ability to sell buildings in as-is condition, and Frankfort Square and/or Arbury Hills were identified.

Find out what's happening in Frankfortwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

The District said it has not set a timeline for making a decision on possible school closures.

“Once scenarios have been presented and thoroughly discussed, implementation plans will be developed and discussed,” the District said.

After the December meeting, the next scheduled meeting for the Board of Education is Jan. 17.

The schools with the largest capacities — Dr. Julian Rogus, Walker and Summit Hill Junior High — are not a part of the discussion on closures.

Arbury Hills School was built in 1960, according to District documents. The school’s latest addition was in 2000, and it has the capacity of 456 students. A 2021 facility report showed that estimated repair costs for the school would be around $3.5 million.

Frankfort Square School was built in 1973, and its latest addition was in 2000. The school has a capacity of 426 students. A 2021 facility report estimated repair costs at $2.6 million.

Plans for what to do with closed buildings could vary, and the District said several parties have expressed interest in the buildings.

“Once the District has a more definitive path forward, these conversations will intensify and include the District’s architect and attorney,” the District said.

Patch has reached out to Summit Hill District 161 for more information.

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