Champaign school board votes to have extra classrooms designed for Bottenfield

Champaign school board votes to have extra classrooms designed for Bottenfield

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign school board will consider adding two more classrooms than originally planned to Bottenfield Elementary when it's renovated next year.

The school board voted Monday to pay for the design of two extra classrooms, plus specialized space, to consider as an alternative next spring.

The design will cost $215,000, which would be included in a total cost of about $1.05 million to $1.25 million for the two classrooms if the school board decides to include them in the renovation. The board is expected to make a final decision next March.

The school board is considering the extra classrooms as the district deals with higher-than-usual enrollment. It's also working with an educational facility planning firm, which is expected to have a demographic study done by January. That study may show whether higher enrollment will continue.

Stuart Brodsky of Cannon Design last week also presented the possibility of adding classrooms to Robeson Elementary. That school will be renovated next year, as well, but the original plans didn't call for an addition.

The cost to design the addition of classrooms would be more there, Brodsky told the board, because no surveying or soil boring had been done there.

Board member Dave Tomlinson expressed concern about adding so much room to Robeson.

With a larger addition, it would have four classrooms each of kindergarten through fifth-graders, but would have the same square footage as schools that have five such groups. He said he worried that if enrollment continues to rise and the school district is crunched for space, more students would be added there. That would make it a much larger school, enrollment-wise.

Board member Kristine Chalifoux said she thought money spent paying for designing the alternative plans could better be used better elsewhere, although she said she'd be OK with designs for the two Bottenfield classrooms.

Chalifoux said she'd like the school district to focus on finding options for students who don't currently live near any of the district's elementaries.

Superintendent Judy Wiegand said if next year's kindergarten enrollment is the same as this year's, the school district will have to find space for six classrooms.

She believes that can be done, and the school district has looked into what it would cost to put four classrooms at the old Marquette School. That is estimated at $125,000.

That building most recently housed the school district's Family Information Center, and the school district had discussed leasing it to Champaign County Head Start. The two had a contract that reserved leasing rights for Head Start, which began in March and was extended in August until December.

Wiegand said the school district ended that contract with Head Start, which had been searching for money to renovate the building.

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