Bringing new life into old Washington School

By Katherine Tellez

July 6, 2014 Updated Jul 7, 2014 at 10:50 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- What once was a grade school and then an adult education building at the corner of Moss and Garfield Avenues has sat vacant for several years.

But an offer on the table could restore the old Washington school to its original glory.

That proposal is for a Montessori School. And it's something the Moss/Bradley residential association is very happy about.

"It will bring back vitality, it will help increase property values," said President of the association, Brian Buralli.

But there are still some questions to be answered.

"We need to do due diligence in finding out what is going in there, the sustainability of the organization," Buralli said. "On the surface it looks good and we believe them to be a good viable alternative. But we still need to take a look at what they have, what they're going to do to sustain financially."

District 150 still owns the property but it agreed to work with both the city and the neighborhood to make sure what goes into the old school fits the neighborhood -- rather than just selling it to the highest bidder.

"This particular building has been an anchor on the West Bluff and it is a huge, very important, historic gem in the crown of Peoria," said 2nd District Councilman Chuck Grayeb. "It has many dimensions of significance to this community, and it's very important that we have a stable anchor, and we don't have it changing hands several times."

While the city and neighborhood residents have a say in what goes in the building ultimately the school district has to sign off on it.

And whether it be a school or something else, it will have to follow certain rules when making changes because it's in the historic district.

The price tag on the old school is $150,000.

A public meeting about the school's future is set for Wednesday at
7 p.m. at the Westminster Presbyterian Church.