Fenwick Files Letter of Intent Expressing Interest in Purchasing Priory from Dominican University

     This July, Fenwick placed a letter of intent for purchasing Dominican University’s Priory Campus.

     This building has a rich history in the Dominican Order alongside Fenwick High School. In fact, it’s considered somewhat of a forerunner to Fenwick’s current main building, having been designed five years prior to Fenwick’s construction by the same architect, Wilfrid E. Henry, in 1924. The building served as a priory and chapel for the Dominican Friars religious order until it was sold to Dominican University in 2002. 

     When Dominican University announced their intentions to sell the priory earlier this year, Fenwick’s Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Mr. Chris Ritten, called it a “once in a lifetime opportunity” and explained that he is “extremely confident that Fenwick will have long term control and access [to] the building.”

     Although Fenwick is still in search of funding for the purchase, the administration is sure that donors will come to the rescue. Fenwick hopes that, should it acquire the building, it could be renovated and the chapel could be recommissioned so that it will open new partnership opportunities with surrounding Dominican institutions such as St. Vincent, Trinity and Dominican University. 

     However, Fenwick is in competition with Oak Park River Forest High School for the building. Although OPRF hasn’t announced official plans for the property, they have suggested that they may use the land for additional construction, and perhaps to build a pool or a special education center. Regardless, they have made their intentions to demolish the current building clear, having pitched a higher price for the land should the building be removed. 

     “There’s tremendous history there of Dominican ownership,” Mr. Ritten said. “It’s very important that we keep this building in the Dominican Family.” By the end of September, Fenwick should have a more definitive answer as to what will happen to the Priory.