LT-owned plot of land for sale

Residents voice concerns over safety, zoning restrictions on property in Willow Springs


A ‘no trespassing’ sign is posted at the entrance of land LT owns. This 70-acre lot is for sale, with proceeds to be spent on facility upgrades at both campuses (Lestina/LION).

Scarlett Lestina, Managing Editor

Mass printed signs detailing the words “Stop the Sale” were passed throughout the crowd at the regular board meeting in the Reber Center on Jan. 23. Concerned residents and parents held up these signs as the Board of Education (BOE) voted on whether or not to sell the 70-acre land that LT currently owns, located between 79th Street and German Church Road, west of Willow Springs Road. 

The Board ultimately decided to not sell the land to the two prospective buyers and instead kept it on the market.

“The land that [LTHS] owns should never be sold to any type of industrial developer no matter how financially enticing it may seem,” LTHS alumnus parent Mary O’Heron said at the Jan. 23 school board meeting. “It is certainly not innovative, but rather careless and negligent because it harms the students and communities that [LTHS] serves.”

The two interested parties were ProLogis, Inc. who bid $46.5 million and Bridge Industrial, Inc. who bid $55 million, both at the public bid opening on Jan. 11. The lowest amount of money LT will accept for the land is $55 million.

“[Bridge Industries] did not provide the specifications outlined in our terms and conditions,” BOE President Kari Dillon said. “For that reason, we could not approve the bids that were submitted.”

LT purchased the land in two separate parcels, 38 acres in 1955 and 30 acres in 1962, Superintendent Brian Waterman said. Two and a half acres was donated to LT in 2009, resulting in LT owning a total of approximately 70 acres. The district originally bought the land with the intent of creating a third campus, but as the enrollment of LT peaked during the 1972-1973 school year with 5,130 students, it has since stabilized to roughly 4,000 students.

The land is still on the market as long as the interested buyer follows all necessary requirements and meets the minimum bid price, Dillon said.

“I’m excited at the opportunity that sale proceeds could benefit both of our campuses,” Dillon said. “I think our students really deserve a 21st-century learning environment.”

The Board has communicated plans to use potential proceeds on renovating both campuses, Waterman said. Specific plans call for modernizing classrooms, developing additional collaborative spaces, modernizing restroom facilities, updating accessibility and life safety measures, improving athletic facilities, and upgrading the air conditioning.

“The Board believes that exploring a sale of the Willow Springs property would be an effective way to fund those facility upgrades,” Waterman said. “The potential of improving our current facilities at both campuses is very exciting for the future of LT.”

However, not all parties are pleased with the sale of the land. Many residents voiced their opinions at the board meeting as the property is located in a suburban area with houses lining the property, along with a playground and Pleasantdale Elementary School.

“It is disgraceful that [the Board] has even allowed industrial developers to even enter the conversation,” Pleasantdale school district parent Jennifer Houch said at the school board meeting.

A few parents claimed there was a lack of communication stemming from the Board relating to the sale of the property, but a website was launched on Nov. 30 detailing necessary information about the process and has been kept updated, Waterman said.

“I appreciate the many discussions [the Board has] had to date and the transparency that’s been shown by keeping us informed along the way,” resident Nancy Bramson said at the school board meeting. “I am grateful to have a school board and administration that continues to do their job by being fiscally responsible, holding to the utmost importance the needs of the students, as well as for protecting our community’s finances.”

The Board will have their next vote on whether or not to sell the land when a new bid is submitted. The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Feb. 21. For future updates, visit