District 41 Superintendent Ann Riebock said earlier this week she is "not surprised" Wheaton College is opposed to the district's plan to buy college property for a new Hadley Junior High School site.
District 41 officials said the district might use eminent domain to acquire the 15-acre property after Wheaton College's indication that the property is not for sale. Wheaton College earlier this week sent a release announcing its opposition to the Glen Ellyn School District 41 plan to acquire the college's East Campus property, 1825 College Ave.
The college's release read, "The district’s newsletter informs its constituents that if it initiates an eminent domain proceeding, it can 'abandon the process at any point.' This approach shows little consideration for the College’s rights and fails to recognize the potentially high cost of such a strategy.
"...In addition to being unfair, the District’s proposal is unwise. Wheaton College has significant, unique legal protections by virtue of its Charter from the State of Illinois, as well as Federal and State religious freedom rights."
Riebock said in conversations with Wheaton College, the district has discussed its ability to pay for the property and has had a disagreement over its value.
"I'm not surprised they're not interested... We will keep the door open," with hopes of entering negotiations, she said.
The District 41 board has designated $3 million of its reserves to go toward land acquisition. Wheaton College officials say $3 million shows a "significant undervaluation" of the 15-acre property.
District 41 will host a public forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, in the Hadley Library Media Center to provide information about the plan before the board takes action to proceed with an offer at the April 8 meeting.
The district will hold a second forum April 25 to get community feedback and provide updates on the plan, Riebock said.