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JOLIET, IL-The Joliet Township High School Board of Education has purchased a 65,000-square-foot office building for its new headquarters. The school board acquired the 10-acre property at 300 Caterpillar Dr. for nearly $3 million from local newspaper Joliet Herald News.

Jeffrey Girling, senior associate of Paine/Wetzel ONCOR International, represented building owner Fox Valley Publications LLC. The school was represented by Les Spinner, EVP, also with Paine/Wetzel.

“The Joliet area has experienced tremendous population growth, and the district was in a bind for space,” Spinner tells GlobeSt.com. “The newspaper fashioned itself as a quasi-public entity and built the building with an institutional atmosphere in terms of architecture, design, layout and interior finishes. Rather than feeling like the typical one-story suburban office building, it feels like you’re at city hall with an ability to accommodate a larger number of people than a normal office building.”

The board was previously located in a school in the district, but the space in the building became needed for additional classrooms due to the increase in students. “It was cheapest and most efficient to convert their offices into classroom space,” Spinner says. “They needed a new office and What it boiled down to was that constructing a new building would have cost more than $250 per square foot, and they bought one for a fraction of that. They paid $65 per square foot, one-third of what they would have paid to build new.”

The district’s new building was originally constructed by the newspaper about three decades ago, Spinner says. The school was drawn to the layout of the offices, the plentiful parking with 150 spaces and room for expansion, and the auditorium and open areas of the building which it will utilize for public meetings. While the majority of the building is office space, it also offers 25,000 square feet of warehouse space, which the school will use for storage.

“Buildings like this are very challenging to value and channel because it has a lot of unique features that most suburban office users might not look for,” Spinner says. “But the building was perfect for the district. It was a very close match for what they needed and when they needed it.”

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