Champaign school board to discuss naming alternative school after Novak

Champaign school board to discuss naming alternative school after Novak

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign school board may take action at its meeting tonight to rename its alternative high school, the Academic Academy, after late school board member Greg Novak.

The board's meeting will begin with a 5:30 p.m. executive session, with the open meeting beginning at 6 p.m. at the Mellon Administrative Center, 703 S. New St., C.

If the school board approves the name change, the academy will be dedicated with a service at a later date, and the school district will buy a new sign for the building

Mr. Novak had also been a longtime school district employee before serving on the school board, and died suddenly last March.

He had been instrumental in researching programs and putting together ideas for the school, which opened in 2008, according to the school board's agenda packet on its BoardDocs website.

“Greg Novak was deeply committed to the Academic Academy and the renaming of the school would honor his memory and years of service to the community,” said school district spokeswoman Stephanie Stuart.

The school board may also take action to approve a $117,000 contract with educational facility planning firm DeJong-Richter, from Dublin, Ohio.

The firm would study the school district's demographics, projected growth areas and the idea of renovating or replacing several Champaign schools. It will also study what the school district needs to deliver educational programs now and in the future, research community members' opinions using focus groups and forums and put together some recommendations for the school district's facilities.

The idea of hiring a public-engagement firm emerged last year, when former interim Superintendent Bob Malito suggested it as he put together options for a new high school location.

The school board will also hear a report from a school district committee that this summer studied various school configurations and how to deal with rising enrollment.

The committee's report, available at the school district's BoardDocs website, includes a slew of options and ideas, such as creating a couple schools that house kindergartners through eighth-graders and a school that combines seventh-graders through seniors.

It contains a few suggestions about renovating Dr. Howard and South Side Elementaries.It also has a few involving the school on Kirby Avenue (the former Carrie Busey Elementary) that's currently housing other elementary schools whose buildings are being renovated.