La Grange Nuclear Society buildings sold

New housing developments anger community members


American Nuclear Society building in the process of being torn down to make room for eight future single-family homes on April 19 (Pohl/LION).

Reagan Pohl, Photo Editor

The American Nuclear Society (ANS), a nonprofit organization that works internationally to advance nuclear research and technology, has sold its existing property in La Grange Park, which has been located on the grounds of 555 Kensington Avenue since 1977. 

On Jan. 24, the La Grange Park Village board authorized the subdivision plat for the sale of the ANS site, with a 5-1 vote. The McNaughton Development was granted permission by the village to replace the current building with eight homes and a detention pond by 2024, according to

Several community members have expressed concerns over McNaughton’s development proposal, fearing that removing the building may impact the historic value of the village, as it formerly functioned as Oak School before transferring ownership in 1976. Furthermore, many residents anticipated that the building would be preserved and refurbished as a recreational center or village hall. 

“This is the only large historical structure in La Grange Park,” member of the Environmental Protection Agency and Chairperson of the Village’s Sustainability Commission, Donna Twickler, said in an article in the Chicago Tribune. “It doesn’t reflect the character of the 2006 Comprehensive Plan’s commitment to preserving historic places.” 

Despite considerable disappointment with the demolition of the historic building, not every homeowner was opposed to the new residential development plans. 

“As nice as the building is historically, it isn’t practical for other uses such as a rec center, condos, or apartments, so I’m glad homes will be built,” La Grange Park resident Dave Philips  said. “La Grange Park is a wonderful community to raise a family [in] and the schools are exceptional. I feel that this is the best use of the property.” 

When the Oak School sold the property to the ANS in 1976, it was with the intention that once the ANS opted to sell, it would either remain a school or be developed for residential use,  La Grange Park Village President Jim Discipio said. Due to the economic and financial burden that attempting to restore the facility would have on someone, the owners believed it best to sell it to a real estate developer and convert it to what it had originally been intended for, which is residential homes.

“While it is sad to lose such a beautiful building, we are fortunate to welcome eight new families to La Grange Park,” Discipio said.