Board of Education Votes to Place New Referendum on April Ballot


Mon, 01/12/2015 - 7:10pm

At its meeting Monday, the Champaign Board of Education voted unanimously to place a new $144 million facilities referendum on the April 7, 2015 ballot. The new proposal would include a new Central High School, expansion of Centennial High School, a new Dr. Howard Elementary School, and targeted renovations to the existing Central High School facility.

 “We have taken the time to really listen to the feedback we received and believe this plan reflects that feedback as well as the values of our community,” said Board of Education President Laurie Bonnett. “The new plan meets our facility needs while lessening the burden on taxpayers, tackling more projects on the District’s Master Facility Plan, addressing the immediate facility needs of Dr. Howard, creating a sustainable long-term plan for the current Central High School, and bringing down the District’s operational costs.”

The new plan includes the following projects:

·         New Central High School – $94.5 million

·         Centennial High School – $18.5 million

·         Dr. Howard – $15 million

·         Existing Central High School – $16 million

Total=$144 million

A new Central High School would be constructed to provide the same academic program proposed in the November 2014 referendum. Cost savings for this project would come from removing furniture, fixtures, and equipment from the referendum cost and covering these expenses through the District’s operational budget. The plan also removes turf from the football field and includes this only as an alternate option should bids come in lower than expected.

Centennial High School would see a change in the scope of the project to include additions only to accommodate a student population of 1,700. New spaces would include Career & Technical education, new STEM labs, and additional classroom spaces. Renovations to the Centennial facility would take place with funds from the 1% sales tax when these become available in 2025.

Dr. Howard Elementary School would be added to the referendum and would receive a brand new, 3-strand school facility. This new facility would be comparable to the recent elementary school construction and renovation projects and would better utilize the space available at the current school site.

The existing Central High School would receive light renovation in order to accommodate the consolidation of the Mellon Administrative Center, Family Information Center, Novak Academy, the ACTIONS program, and the new Midwest Entrepreneurship Center. A new HVAC system will also be installed at this facility. 

The new proposal would address facilities needs for more buildings on the District’s Master Facility Plan and asks taxpayers for $5 million less than the referendum brought forward in November.

For more information, please visit our Future Facilities website at