Old Town School Of Folk Music

WBBM Newsradio/Steve Miller

Old Town School Of Folk Music Hits Pause Button On Building Sale

December 03, 2018 - 8:19 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) – The controversial proposed sale of the Old Town School of Folk Music’s Lincoln Park building is on hold, at least temporarily, officials with the organization announced Monday.

The discussion period regarding the potential sale of 909 W. Armitage has been extended to March 31, 2019.  Working groups are being formed so that members of the school can brainstorm financial alternatives, Board Chairman Kish Khemani said in a prepared statement.

“We heard from our community that it wants more time to bring forward other possible options to selling 909 W. Armitage,” Khemani said. “Perhaps we can find creative solutions through these discussions.”

The school’s administration had proposed selling the property to raise money for an endowment that would keep the organization’s main campus in Lincoln Square running for years to come. Some students and members have opposed selling the Armitage building because of its 50-year history with the organization, and because the Lincoln Park location is more convenient for some people. An online petition to prevent the sale has drawn nearly 8,800 signatures.

The Old Town School of Folk Music faces a budget shortfall in 2018, which prompted plans to offer buyouts to staff and to close the Armitage building's music store early next year, according to a news release.

The not-for-profit music school offers a variety of music and dance courses, as well as concerts. It currently has no debt, the news release said.

The school's board has appointed deputy director Rashida Phillips as Acting Executive Director, following the unexpected medical leave of Executive Director Bau Graves, the news release said.

The Old Town School of Folk Music dates back to 1957.