Champaign to consider potential high school location

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign school board will hear about another potential site for a new high school at its Monday meeting.

The school district has added a 60-acre parcel on North Mattis Avenue to its list of possible sites for a new school. School district spokeswoman Stephanie Stuart said the site is south of the High School of St. Thomas More.

The board's meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at the Mellon Administrative Center, 703 S. New St., C.

You can see the school board's agenda at http://www.tinyurl.com/unit4boarddocs, and it includes a document with the other sites still on the school district's list of possibilities.

The list also includes several parcels on the north side of Champaign, two on the south side, one in the Boulder Ridge subdivision, one at Cardinal and Duncan Roads, one at the Country Fair Shopping Center and one at Duncan Road and Kirby Avenue.

"This site is another possibility and has been added to the list of places the district could build a new high school," Stuart said. "This is just an informational item, so the board will not take any action."

The school district recently hired an educational facility planning firm to, among other things, weigh the community's opinions on possible high school sites.

The board heard, at its Sept. 10 meeting, a presentation from Laura Huth about the Midwest Athletic Complex and Institute, which has options on land in the Clearview subdivision at North Mattis Avenue and Olympian Drive.

Stuart said the school district's new potential site is "quite close" to the proposed complex.

"If they move forward on the MAC project, it would definitely be a factor to consider," she said.

Huth, of Do Good Consulting, is working as a consultant for the complex. She said president and CEO of that organization is Rick Pontious of White Health.

At the meeting, she told the school board that the complex could be a potential community partner for the school district when it came to athletic facilities.

She reiterated that Friday in a phone interview.

"I think it's a natural alliance," Huth said. "The schools' mission (is) to provide education to the kids. The athletics that come with school are an integral part" of that experience, she said.

Huth described the complex as a "regional megasports complex" with multiple courts and fields, with the potential for hosting large tournaments and events.

"It would be a draw for tournament scale opportunities throughout the Midwest region and a day-to-day draw for the community, in terms of being able to use and rent out the space there," Huth said.

Huth said the complex is now being designed and investors are being gathered. Depending on how quickly that happens, she said, the first phase, which includes a building, could be done sometime in 2013 or 2014.

Later phases of outdoor courts and facilities could follow.

"We'll be moving forward and breaking ground sometime next year," Huth said.

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