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Westchester Approves Ordinance for West40 to Run Residential School

West40 has officially received the stamp of approval from the Village of Westchester to operate the former St. Joseph High School as a residential school for up to 40 foster children.

Village board members unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday evening that grants approval of a special use to allow a planned unit development for a residential school at 10900 West Cermak Road.

The approval for West40 comes after months of community outreach events, public announcements, and going through the village’s required zoning process.

“We are very happy to continue to move forward in building a program to serve our most vulnerable youth and we appreciate the village’s support of our efforts to make such an important impact,” said Lezlie Fuhr, Director of Programming for West40 at St. Joseph.

West40 purchased the St. Joseph property in 2023 and will operate the school with financial support from the State of Illinois. 

West40 provided a site survey, security plan, lighting map, traffic study, and construction schedule, among other plans, to the village.

Village trustee Peter Marzano, who has volunteered to teach photography classes, praised the concept for the school and called it a wonderful investment.

“I am proud that Westchester will be part of supporting West40 in giving children who otherwise may not have had a chance to experience many wonderful things in life a chance to experience happiness and also become productive, happy members of society,” said Marzano.

Demolition of the original St. Joseph High School building, located on the north end of the property, is scheduled to take place in the coming weeks.

A timeline of the renovation of the south building, located adjacent to West Cermak Road, is ongoing.


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