News Local/State

Facilities Panel Focuses On Current Champaign Central High School Site

Champaign Central High School

Champaign Central High School could be renovated and expanded, or replaced with a new building nearby, under some of the ideas being considered by a panel of community members looking at options for a new high school for the Champaign Unit Four school district. Travis Stansel/Illinois Public Media

A committee looking at ways to build a new Champaign Central High School narrowed its options at a meeting Thursday night.

Steve Carter, the facilitator for the Unit Four Facilities Tier Two Special Board Committee, says the panel of community members looked at a variety of architects’ concept plans. Most of them were ways to renovate and expand the current high school --- or build a new one on land the district has optioned near the current school. There would also be space for athletic practice fields or a fieldhouse, plus parking.

Carter says the committee’s next step is to take a close look at how much the various options would cost.

"And hopefully, starting in April, why, we’ll be able to start getting some numbers from the architects and the construction manager in terms of ---- OK, for the options we have left, give us some numbers so we can start seeing if there are major differences in the plans in terms of how much they cost," said Carter In a live interview with Brian Moline during Morning Edition on WILL Radio.

Carter says the Tier Two committee decided to drop two building sites as impractical for a new Central High School. He says the South Side Elementary School and Mellon Center site would not provide any additional space, and has raised concerns in the immediate neighborhood. And he says the owner of the Country Fair Shopping Center is unwilling to sell.

The Tier Two Special Board Committee is made up of local elected officials, members of the business sector and other community members. It's reviewing ideas from a Tier One committee made up of Unit Four faculty and staff.

The Tier Two Facilities Committee still has one other option available for building a new high school --- the Interstate Drive site on the north edge of Champaign. However, Unit Four voters rejected that site in two previous bond referenda.