Central & Centennial Projects to Appear on November 4 Ballot
Following an eight-year discussion and two-year intensive planning process, the Unit 4 Board of Education voted unanimously Monday to place a question on the November 4 ballot to fund the construction of a new Central High School and an expansion and extensive renovation of the current Centennial High School.
The two projects, totaling $149 million, would address the District’s pressing capacity needs while providing 21st Century learning spaces for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs, computer science, innovation and entrepreneurship, the arts and music, early childhood programs, and project-based learning.
“We are pleased to be making this important step forward for the students in our District,” said Superintendent Dr. Judy Wiegand. “The community, families, students, and staff have worked together to plan for the future of high school education in Champaign Unit 4 Schools. But the realization of this vision would require the passage of a referendum. We hope that citizens will take the time to become informed on this issue and make their voice heard at the polls on Election Day.”
The current Central and Centennial facilities, built in 1938 and 1967 respectively, are currently at 103% capacity and expect to be at 120% capacity by 2022. The current Central High School does not provide on-site athletics, marching band practice areas, or outdoor physical education spaces. The new campus located at Neil Street and Interstate Drive, would for the first time provide a comprehensive campus for students at Central. Centennial High School would also see significant improvements. The proposed plan would deliver the same educational program at both schools and create equity between the two facilities.
The $97.7 million Central High School project would provide for a 309,000 square-foot facility, including learning spaces for up to 1,700 students, two gymnasiums, parking, green spaces, and on-site athletic fields. The new school would become the site of the District’s competition swimming pool. The school would also target LEED Certification and utilize green building practices in order to increase energy efficiency and long-term sustainability.
The $51.3 million renovation and expansion of Centennial High School would provide for extensive interior improvements as well as a 92,500 square-foot addition to the existing 202,000 square-foot facility, for a total of 294,500 square feet. The school would provide learning spaces for up to 1,700 students, an additional gymnasium, and significant improvements to classrooms, mechanical systems, technology infrastructure, and safety features.
For more information, please visit futurefacilities.champaignschools.org.