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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

DeKalb school district seeks renovations to former nursing building

Classic car dealership cruises into DeKalb
Rachel Cormier
City Manager Bill Nicklas reviews the expansions of the property at 1240 Normal Road. The building was originally built by the district but was sold to NIU in 1987 and used by the School of Nursing. (Rachel Cormier | Northern Star)

DeKALB – The former nursing building is being repurposed as an elementary school for the DeKalb school district by 2025.

The building, 1240 Normal Road, is returning to the DeKalb school district years after it was constructed in 1974 and sold to NIU in 1987. The building has since housed the School of Nursing until the property was sold back to the district for $1.86 million in April.

With the building now expected to be renovated as a K-5 elementary school, city plans expect to expand the building and parking lot.

The new building will expand from 23,120 square feet to a 70,000 square feet facility on the 9 acre property. The school expects to hold 28 classrooms, two of which will be special education classrooms, with four others to act as recreational classrooms for art, music and STEAM.

DeKalb school district school board member Christopher Boyes vouched for the community’s impact on the renovations planned for the new elementary school which would be financed by the city’s taxes.

“I do want to say it takes a village, I’d say we’re more than that at this point,” Boyes said. “It takes a city, it takes a district, it takes a county, it takes a library, it takes all the taxing bodies in our area working together to make sure we continue to make sure our burden on our tax payers is low enough that we can continue to support and bring in these businesses that give us the new funds and new money we need to build things like our new elementary school.”

The new school would decrease the current classroom sizes at current DeKalb district elementary schools that average 28 students to under 25 students in the new classrooms. 

District board members present at the meeting also highlighted how the recreational classrooms for music and art would eliminate four out of the five mobile classrooms where the subjects are currently taught outside of the current elementary school buildings.

A new circle drive off of Ridge Drive in the northeast section of the property would accommodate school bus drop-off and pick-up. In addition, a new parking lot and drop off/pick up zone would be located on the south end of the site.

The school has no current boundary divisions that designate what communities would attend the new building.


The city went on to approve the sale of the property at 215 N. Fourth Street to business owner Steve Turner of Classic Auto Haus.

The business would showcase and trade antique cars with the dealership expected to hold 35 to 40 cars inside, while Turner proposed that any painting or mechanical work would be outsourced to local vendors prior to a re-sale.

The council brought up the idea to bring back “Bleach the Street,” where owners of classic cars would cruise through the streets. Turner said he’d consider creating a “Cruise Night” once he opens shop.


Five new academy officers will receive basic training at the Macon County Law Enforcement Training Center paid by the city at a maximum price of $41,500.

The DeKalb Police Department has been working toward attaining a staffing level of 70 police officers by 2023. The five candidates will receive training provided by the city to attain initial certification to become Illinois police officers.

Of the five officers, three have recently graduated from the academy, and the other two are expected to complete academy training by the end of the calendar year.

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