Roycemore School to relocate to downtown Evanston building

Grace Johnson

The Roycemore School will relocate to a new building in downtown Evanston before the start of the 2011-2012 school year, leaving its longtime home on Northwestern-owned property.

The pre-kindergarten through 12th grade private school, currently located at 640 Lincoln St., was built in 1915 on land owned and leased by NU. The University decided in 2008 it would not renew Roycemore’s 99-year lease due to a need for extra space. Roycemore purchased its new building, located at 1200 Davis St., on Dec. 30.

While members of the Roycemore community are looking forward to the school’s new home, many people will miss the school’s current building close to North Campus, said Joseph Becker, the school’s headmaster.

“Those of us who have been here for a long time will be sad, but most of the memories are tied up with the kids and the teachers who made them,” he said.

The new 60,000-square-foot building, formally the site of the General Board of Pension Funds Building for the United Methodist Church, will be renovated in order to suit the school’s needs, Becker said. As part of the renovations, a new gymnasium will be built on the south side of the building.

The current school building is owned by Roycemore, while the land it is on is owned by NU. Plans for what to do with the building once Roycemore vacates it are uncertain, University spokesman Al Cubbage said.

“It’s totally undecided at this point,” Cubbage said. “It will be some time down the road before the University makes any decisions.”

The building was registered with the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, so any work done on the building must fall within zoning regulations.

While Roycemore’s physical location is moving farther from NU’s campus, the relationship between Roycemore and NU will not change on any other level, both Becker and Cubbage said.

“We certainly look forward to maintaining the relationship with Northwestern as far as our programs are concerned,” Becker said.

Roycemore offers a 25 percent tuition discount to the children of NU faculty and staff; around 25 to 30 Roycemore students benefit from this discount. In addition, Roycemore high school students can take NU classes after completing the Roycemore curriculum for no extra charge.

Becker said he is happy the school will be able to remain in Evanston.

“Evanston is a good, central location for the students who come from the North Shore suburbs and the city,” he said.

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