In the same year it shuttered more than 50 schools, the nation's third-largest school district is shrinking its headquarters in a money-saving move.
Sometime next fall, the Chicago Public Schools headquarters will move from 125 S. Clark St. in the Loop to 1 N. Dearborn St. a little more than a block away, WGN reports.
Much like the number of schools in the district, CPS' staff has been whittled down over the years; it now has about 1,200 employees. This past spring, schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett told Crain's Chicago Business, "We have too much space and far fewer employees than we did a few years ago. It's time to downsize."
School Board President Jesse Ruiz, who works as a lawyer, told the Sun-Times there was too much unused space in the current building.
“The office I’m assigned at CPS headquarters is larger than my law firm office,” Ruiz said.
CPS had previously tried to sell the South Clark Street building. It estimates with the move it will save about $60 million dollars: The 15-year lease for the new headquarters location will cost $34.6 million while officials told the Sun-Times staying in the current spot for the same amount of time would $94.9 million, much of that in operations and maintenance costs.
Though a location outside of the pricey downtown area would be ostensibly cheaper, the Sun-Times said officials wanted the headquarters to be centrally located for those traveling to the schools or to the CPS central office -- including parents attending board meetings.
The new offices will reportedly hold twice as many people in the board chambers compared to the current location, the Tribune says.
As CPS vacates the building, which it bought from Com-Ed in 1998 for a reported $8.3 million, it will set up in the space where Sears' flagship store is located, raising questions among some about Sears' future in the downtown shopping district.