Unit 4 Board to Use Reserves to Reduce Referendum to $183.4 Million

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 7:34pm

Tonight, the Board of Education determined it will utilize $25 million in existing fund balance to offset the cost of a school referendum that would provide for improvements at six of the District's schools. The $25 million reduction, combined with some reduction in the scope of projects, would bring the total referendum amount to $183.4 million. The Board will take a vote on the final version of the referendum question this Thursday.

Superintendent Dr. Judy Wiegand recommended to the Board that it establish a community oversight committee to oversee the use of the funds secured through the passage of a referendum. Dr. Wiegand also recommended the Board assemble an exploratory committee to discuss a possible capital campaign that could assist with fundraising to support these projects. 

The Board discussed reducing the scope of its renovations at Central and Centennial to reduce overall cost but still provide for a total renovation of classrooms and common spaces. In each of the projects, the Board prioritized system updates and then addressed renovation needs, according to the District's construction management team from O'Shea Builders.

The plans do not provide for expanded middle school capacity at the present time but Board members discussed the need to do so in the future. 

The Board also discussed holding off on the classroom expansion of the International Prep Academy that would provide space for students in grades 6-8, but kept in the plans renovation of classrooms, expanded common spaces (gym, cafeteria, and library), and a new secured front entrance. 

The Board landed on the following projects as part of what it would like to see included in a draft referendum question for discussion on Thursday: 

Central High School - $87.1 Million (reduced from $96 Million)

Exterior upgrades 
Interior renovations (medium to heavy renovation)
Three story academic addition with Career & Technical Education (CTE) 
Property acquisition and demolition of surrounding properties currently with option agreements in place 
PE Fields/Competition Soccer (turf)/Competition Softball (sod)
Gymnasium Addition (3 courts and main level lockers & support)

Centennial High School - $63.3 Million (reduced from $66 Million)

Exterior upgrades
Interior renovation (medium to heavy renovation) 
Two story academic addition
Single story cafeteria/administration addition
Career & Technical Education (CTE) spaces
Gymnasium addition
Football Field (turf) 

Edison Middle School - $15 Million 

Exterior Upgrades
Accessibility enclosures and upgrades
HLS upgrades
Classroom renovations
Cafeteria and gymnasium replacement
HVAC system upgrades
Higher efficiency systems 

International Prep Academy - $6 Million 

Renovation of Existing Building (medium renovation)
Building Additions

Gym/Stage/Support
Cafeteria Expansion
Relocate/Expand Library

Dr. Howard Elementary School - $16.1 Million

Demolition of existing school
Three story replacement school facility

South Side Elementary School - $11.1 Million 

Exterior upgades 
Complete renovation with Health Life Safety upgrades
Addition: gym, stage, art, and administration
Remove portable classrooms 

Central High School Fields at South Side - $6.2 Million 

Competition track & field/JV football (turf)
Practice football (sod)
Support building (restrooms, lockers, concessions, and storage)
Additional parking

Central High School Fields at Franklin/Spalding - $3.6 Million

Competition baseball (sod) 
Practice baseball (sod) 
Additional tennis courts
Dugouts, concessions, restrooms, bleacher

More information on the planning efforts leading to this conversation can be found at http://facilityplanning.champaignschools.org.