The private Roycemore School in Evanston is expected to announce moving plans within the next few weeks.
The school, located since 1915 near the lakefront at 640 Lincoln St., needs to move because Northwestern University has refused to renew the school’s original 99-year lease on the site.
Roycemore Headmaster Joseph Becker said the school, which has 250 students spread across 14 grade levels, has been negotiating for a new site with several property owners. He declined to name them, but said the school expects to announce its plans within the next few weeks.
City officials said last week in response to questions at a neighborhood meeting that one of the sites the school has considered is theTapecoat Co. property on Lyons Street west of Ashland Avenue on Evanston’s west side.
But John Wertymer, part of a team of developers who control the Tapecoat site, said this morning, "We don’t have a deal with Roycemore and don’t expect we will have."
Wertymer, one of whose children is a Roycemore graduate, said he’d last spoken to the school about the property three or four months ago.
At one time Roycemore had considered moving across the street from its current site to the former Kendall College property, but those discussions ended when the land, since rezoned for a single-family development, proved too expensive for the school’s budget, according to Alderman Elizabeth Tisdahl, 7th Ward.
"Roycemore is a great school," Tisdahl said. "We hope they’ll stay in Evanston."
Becker said Roycemore is financially prepared to make a move to any of the sites currently under consideration and that one of the school’s primary objectives is to remain in Evanston.
Wertymer said that a few years ago he’d tried to interest the school in moving to the Mallinckrodt property in Wilmette, a former school since redeveloped for condominiums, but he said school officials told him the site was too far north.
Sean Walsh has more on Roycemore and its moving plans in this video report.