Regional Office of Education moving to Bloomington from Normal

2013-01-18T00:01:00Z Regional Office of Education moving to Bloomington from NormalBy PHYLLIS COULTER - Lee News Service Writer

BLOOMINGTON — The Regional Office of Education is closed today through Tuesday as the staff moves to downtown Bloomington from north Normal.

“We’re getting everything packed up,” said Mark Jontry, regional superintendent for DeWitt, Livingston and McLean counties. The office is expected to reopen Wednesday on the fifth floor of 200 W. Front St.

The office previously was at 904 N. Main St., Normal. Both buildings are owned by McLean County, and the move will save money for the county and the education office and improve efficiency.

The new location has less free parking but has public transit options. The new space is about half the size as the Normal site, but less space is needed since GED courses are taught at Heartland Community College and some adult literacy programs were discontinued because of state funding cuts, Jontry said.

The office will continue to offer GED testing and professional teacher development in the new location, which includes access to a large training area.

The primary occupant of the Front Street building is the McLean County Health Department.

In November, the McLean County Board agreed to cut $350,000 from its proposed $79.4 million 2013 budget to keep its tax rate level. Among the cuts was the closure of the Fairview Building in north Normal, where the education office was the last tenant.

County Administrator Bill Wasson said moving the office could reduce maintenance costs at Fairview to $10,000. In addition, expenses will drop for other Front Street tenants since the education office now will share the costs.

The change will provide the county a total savings of $50,000. Jontry said the savings to the education office will be about $30,000 annually.

“It’s definitely going to be helpful going forward,” Jontry said.

Mary Ann Ford contributed to this article.

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