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Historic Andersonville school gets a fresh lease on life

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Chicago’s Lyman Trumbull Elementary School closed in 2013

Andersonville’s former Lyman Trumbull Elementary School.
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After five years of vacancy and an unrealized adaptive reuse plan, Andersonville’s former Lyman Trumbull Elementary School will once again become an educational facility. Chicago Waldorf School announced on Tuesday that it will move to the historic building at 5200 N. Ashland Avenue, leaving its current location in the Rogers Park neighborhood.

Designed by renowned Chicago architect and Prairie School disciple Dwight H. Perkins in 1909, Trumbull closed in 2013. It was then acquired by developer Svigos Asset Management who planned to convert the building into 49 residential units and a new performance space for TimeLine Theatre Company.

The proposed changes, however, jeopardized the historic preservation tax credits that the developer was counting on the finance to project. Svigos and TimeLine parted ways in late 2016 and Trumbull’s future became unclear.

Clues that the building could once again become a school emerged last summer when the Chicago Board of Education approved a measure that would allow “a privately funded, non-public school” to occupy at least part of the vacant structure. It was reported that Waldorf School was interested in the Andersonville site.

The newly finalized deal would see the independent Pre-K through 12 school rehab the property this summer and open to students in the fall. Waldorf officials plan to share detailed schematics for the project with the public once they are finalized, said 40th Ward Alderman Patrick O’Connor in an email to residents.

According to O’Connor, Trumbull’s zoning will revert to its original educational classification, pending approval by Chicago’s Committee on Zoning and City Council. At the Alderman’s urging, Chicago Waldorf School will seek landmark protection for both the building’s exterior and interior spaces.