City Colleges moves to demolish old Kennedy-King

  • By Peter Sachs
  • Staff Writer
  • May 06, 2009 @ 7:53 AM

The City Colleges of Chicago is set to spend up to $625,000 as it prepares to demolish the old, abandoned Kennedy King College campus, a relatively small portion of the expected $10.4 million teardown cost.

The Board of Trustees will vote on awarding a $625,000 contract tomorrow morning for the engineering work needed before the old campus can demolished.

The campus, located at South Wentworth Avenue and West Marquette Road, has been vacant since late 2007. That’s when the new Kennedy-King campus opened at West 63rd Street and South Halsted Street.

Rather than opening up bidding on the engineering work to any company, the City Colleges used a list of approved companies that it last ratified in 2006, according to district documents. Invitations to bid were sent to 44 companies and eight responded.

The district selected Teng & Associates because of its experience on demolition projects like the removal of the old Roosevelt Road bridge near the Museum Campus, the documents say. The City Colleges negotiated the $625,000 fee with Teng, according to district documents; it is unclear if any of the other bidders were asked to name a price for the work.

Even though it has been empty for the last 18 months, the City Colleges have been racking up sizeable bills keeping the old Kennedy-King buildings secure. So far, the district has spent more than $750,000 to keep the building’s doors, windows and entryways closed up with steel plates and screens, according to district documents.  That included more than $17,000 to re-secure the campus after vandals broke into the buildings over Thanksgiving. Last June, the board approved spending $55,000 for security guards with canines.

The district has not yet found a way to cover the rest of the $10.4 million demolition cost. In October, it began studying creating a tax increment financing district covering the neighborhood around the old campus, and then using that money to pay for demolition. The board has not yet acted on creating that district, though.

Tomorrow’s meeting starts at 9 a.m. at the district office, 226 W. Jackson Boulevard.


Daily News Staff Writer Peter Sachs covers higher education. He can be reached at 773.362.5002, ext. 18, or peter [at] chitowndailynews [dot] org.