Five different schools have inquired about leasing the St. Bernardine School building in Forest Park, said St. Bernardine Church pastor Rev. George Velloorattil, but there will be no new school there until next year.
The Archdiocese of Chicago has listed the former St. Bernardine School on its online list of properties for lease.
Inquiries have come from close to home.
The Children’s School, now located in Berwyn at the old St. Mary of Celle School, 1428 Wesley Ave., was one of the schools making inquiries, according to members of the St. Bernardine Parish Council and Children’s School parents.
Originally called the Children’s School of Oak Park, the school was founded in 2004 around the philosophy of progressive education by Dr. Dan Ryan, who is now principal of a Wilmette public school. The private school charged $8,350 tuition for the 2012-13 school year. The Children’s School has been renting St. Mary of Celle in Berwyn since 2006, sharing the building with an early child care center run by Chicago Catholic Charities.
According to their website, the Children’s School has around 80 students and is expanding into middle school with grades 6-8.
Velloorattil said other schools who’ve applied have included a Montessori school and a nursery school. He declined to name any other school and also declined to say how much rent the Archdiocese was asking.
The St. Bernardine building is 38,940 square feet. The archdiocese website lists it as having 20 classrooms, an auditorium, kitchen and cafeteria.
The building was taken over by Downtown in 2011 and the 98-year-old St. Bernardine School closed this summer after enrollment fell to around 90 students. Final early childhood classes ended in early August.
Velloorattil said a committee of parishioners would choose the new school with input from the archdiocese.
Susan G. Burritt, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese, neither denied nor confirmed that the Children’s School had made an offer to lease the property.
This story has been updated to correct Burritt’s position.