DeKALB – The former Chesebro Elementary School building that's been vacant for about 10 years is getting a new roof and will undergo other renovations in order to prepare for it to be turned into a therapeutic day facility for DeKalb students.
In 2011, the Chesebro building at 900 E. Garden St. was closed when DeKalb High School opened, according to district documents. Since that time, it's been used to store furniture, equipment and curriculum supplies. Those items will be removed from the building to make way for the Menta Group, a nonprofit that operates out of Illinois and Arizona to serve students with special needs who require varying levels of therapeutic support. A number of K-12 special education programs could also relocate to the building once prepared.
The Chesebro building renovation costs will be split between the district and the Menta Group, who will lease the building from the district.
Specific details regarding the lease agreement would be finalized after the repair bids are obtained, documents show.
The District 428 Board of Education unanimously approved the roof replacement and for the district to put out a bid for construction, estimated to cost $550,000. Additional repairs needed to get the building ready for special education programs are estimated to be $3.3 million including the roof.
The district will pay $2.5 million of total costs, and Menta would cover the rest of the renovation costs, documents show.
The district currently has 36 students in Menta's therapeutic day program at its Aurora facility, documents show, and would consider opening up the DeKalb Menta Group facility to surrounding districts as well, at a later date.
The timeline for the project is dependent on the bid and construction approvals, but if all goes as planned, the Menta Group would be in the building by January 2021, documents show.