From AP - News Headlines -

School District, Village Officials Approve of Savoy School Design

Champaign's school board is scheduled to vote next week on the design of a new grade school in Savoy.

A Unit 4 board member who is an architect said the key to the new Carrie Busey Elementary building will be flexibility in educational space. Christine Chalifoux said older school facilities have a hard time helping some students, since many kids develop at a different pace while they are still in the same classroom.

The Savoy grade school will feature collaboration spaces that teachers can adjust based on different teaching styles. Chalifoux said Unit 4 is taking the right approach with this building.

"We try to teach the way the kids learn," Chalifoux said. "We need flexibility in spaces. We need places we can have break-outs so we can have large groups. We can have special projects and things like that, and that's really been important in all three of these new schools: BTW (Booker T. Washington), Garden Hills, and the new Carrie Busey."

Champaign School Board member Greg Novak said the collaborative space concept is already in place at Stratton and Barkstall elementary schools.

Savoy Village Trustee Joan Dykstra said the configuration of classroom space and open areas will pay dividends for the school district and neighborhood, but she said the school will get its share of use in evening and weekend hours as well.

"There's agreements too that the building will be able to be used for multiple events," Dykstra said.

Dykstra explained that the plans for the new grade school have also been well thought out for special education needs, adding that she appreciates the traffic pattern for buses and parents to pick up and drop off students.

The preliminary design of the Savoy school also allows the library to serve as the anchor, with classrooms grouped around it. A second story will be built to allow for additional outdoor play space. The new Carrie Busey school is scheduled to open in 2012.