Above: A historic building at 18601 Wentworth was demolished Tuesday as the Saxon Partners prepare the former Lansing Country Club property for potential future development. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

By Josh Bootsma

LANSING, Ill. (December 8, 2021) – A building near the intersection of Wentworth Avenue and 186th Street was demolished Tuesday, the most recent of changes being made to the former Lansing Country Club property. The building, located on the southeast corner of the intersection, was most recently the home of Prodigy Preparatory Academy.

The structure fell at the behest of the Saxon Partners — who purchased the former country club property in late 2020 and established plans to use the Indiana portion for development as an office complex.

A historic building

A plaque near the entrance of the building at 18601 Wentworth read, “This building was constructed with the donated labor of members of the Chicago and Cook County Building and Construction Trade Council.” The plaque is dated 1964.

According to longtime country club member Jean McCall, the building was once the clubhouse for the Lansing Sportsman’s Club. Another longtime club regular and current fishing membership coordinator Mike Ogorek said the “old guys” at the club once told him of a massive tank that was in the building used to keep fish alive while anglers enjoyed a drink.

Saxon Partners development director and former Lansing resident Gary Warfel said the property was once the Lansing School of Special Education. McCall said the property was more recently home to Little People’s College. It was most recently Prodigy Preparatory Academy.

Plans for the Illinois property?

When asked about the future of the Lansing portion of the country club property, Warfel said, “While we have not made any commitments for Illinois, we are considering a potential commercial use for the Illinois side that would bring commerce and jobs. We plan on discussing new ideas with the Village of Lansing as things materialize over the next few months.”

Warfel added that he is working with local entities to create a trail system through the property that would connect to surrounding systems.

Demolishing the most recent clubhouse and other existing buildings are in the more immediate plans for the property, however. “Those buildings were all in very rough shape and plagued by deferred maintenance … [they] were loaded with asbestos and had to be properly abated,” Warfel said.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I remember well when it was the Lansing School for Special Education. My father, Bud Halsey, was a board member. This was at a time when legally no school district had to offer any special education and it was one of the few resources for families at that time.

  2. First, yes, the building was originally the Lansing School of Special Education, however when the organization grew in the 1980’s they built a new facility farther south on Wentworth Avenue. At that time they changed their name to LARC. The plaque that your article mentioned was actually for an addition built by the Chicago and Cook County Building and Construction Trade Council for the Lansing School of Special Education in 1964. The story of how the School of Special Education first came about is in itself an interesting story that honors the parents of special needs children. Their sacrifices were amazing and to this day fill my heart with admiration and respect.

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