The entrance to Dominican University's Priory Campus is seen on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in River Forest, Ill. | ALEX ROGALS/Staff Photographer

Fenwick High School closed on the purchase of Priory Campus, a roughly seven-acre parcel owned by Dominican University in River Forest, earlier this month, according to a press release issued by high school officials. The closing between the two Catholic institutions took place May 19, nearly five months after university officials selected Fenwick as the buyer. 

In a news release, Fenwick president Rev. Richard Peddicord called the partnership with the university a “historic milestone.” And while the high school has yet to firm up its plans for the site, Peddicord said that the “acquisition of this building and land will bode well for the future of Fenwick as the Friars approach our centennial in 2029.” 

Last December, Fenwick entered into a sale agreement with Dominican to purchase the Priory, a 7.6-acre property located at 7200 Division St. in River Forest, for $7.5 million.  Fenwick had beaten out Oak Park and River Forest High School and other area entities eying the land. 

Representatives from the schools look to meet May 31 to discuss the details of the Priory’s use. Peddicord once told Wednesday Journal that officials sought to use the Priory building as additional space for administrative or athletic offices, spiritual retreats or arts and music programs. 

The high school also expects to close on the purchase of the athletic fields surrounding the newly acquired property in the spring of 2023, the release also stated. Fenwick had long leased those fields, which equate to about 11 acres of land, from the Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great. If Fenwick were to acquire the fields, it would own 18 acres at Harlem and Division. 

Dominican President Glena Temple stated in the release that a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two schools lists their collaborative efforts. Those initiatives will center on academics, athletics, mission and ministry, along with marketing communications and admission, she said. 

“We look forward to working with Fenwick in promoting Dominican education,” Temple said in the news release. “This sale is important for the future of the university, and it will allow the priory, which initially belonged to the Dominican Friars, to transfer to another Dominican institution.”