Big price difference in new high school locations

Big price difference in new high school locations

Update: 4:02 pm CHAMPAIGN -- The Unit 4 School Board is investigating all possible options, but there seems to be a clear favorite when it comes to a location for the new Central High School.
Update: 4:02 pm
CHAMPAIGN -- The Unit 4 School Board is investigating all possible options, but there seems to be a clear favorite when it comes to a location for the new Central High School.

The board is down to two options; Interstate Drive, north of town, or a more central location at Spalding Park. Building there would cost $45 million more than the other location. That's because of the site's cost and the expense of changing it.

After people heard about the much higher cost, nearly 80% said they'd rather build on the original site. There are some preliminary floor plans for each location.

The facility at Spalding Park would be a four-story building with a four-story parking deck and the football field between them. Other athletic fields would be in the space currently occupied by Judah Christian.

The plan for Interstate Drive shows just three stories of classroom space and two parking lots instead of a separate garage. School leaders say they wanted to make sure they considered all options before making a decision.

Stephanie Stuart, community relations coordinator for Champaign schools, says cost is an important factor, especially since they're talking about tax money. But, it doesn't mean the Spalding Park plan is off the table.

If school leaders decide to build here, they would still keep the land on Interstate Drive and could use it for future development including new schools or athletic fields.

District leaders still have a lot to consider before making a decision. They expect to get feedback from a phone survey in the next week. They'll also see an economic impact study next month. The board needs to choose by August to get it on the November ballot.

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Original: 8:36 am
CHAMPAIGN -- As school leaders work to find a new home for Central High School, they learned one option would be a lot more expensive. School leaders hosted another community meeting about the decision at the current Central High School Tuesday night.

They're considering two locations for the school: Interstate Drive and Neil Street or the Spalding Park area. Architecture consultants say a new study shows the Spalding Park option would cost nearly $46 million dollars more.

The consultants say it would cost $45.8 million dollars total, with $24 million going to the site and $21.8 million going to the building. They say the added cost is due to a few factors: The school would have to be built in two phases, which would involve acquiring and demolishing Judah Christian School and some nearby homes. It would also have to be a taller building with a parking deck and would also need a storm water detention vault.

Consultants say the school could be built in one phase if the location at Neil Street and Interstate Drive is chosen. The district already bought 80 acres of land there earlier this year.

School leaders say a decision will be made by August, 2014.
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