Champaign considers new Judah school site
CHAMPAIGN — City council members this week could approve the layout of the new Judah Christian School campus on the western edge of the city.
If they approve, the new school on Rising Road just north of Kirby Avenue would be built in three phases. The athletic fields — one of the primary motivators for the project — would go in first, and students would start using those fields while Judah Christian continues to operate its current facility on North Prospect Avenue.
The city council is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.
The new high school would be built later, and the last phase of the project would include construction of the elementary and middle school portions of the new campus, according to city documents. School officials say they need to expand but are landlocked at their 908 N. Prospect Ave. location.
The new campus will be built on 50 acres of land that was originally slated to be part of an 80-acre residential subdivision. The residential developer built homes on 30 acres — now the Jacob's Landing subdivision — and sold the remainder of the property to the school.
The city council nearly defeated Judah Christian's proposal in 2011. Council opponents of the relocation, at the time, said the plan would limit the city's tax base. The school would sit on land where 120 residential lots had been planned, and Judah Christian, as a not-for-profit organization, does not pay property taxes.
Some council members worried that a new school on the fringe of the city would extend already-stretched police and fire service too far.
The city council reconsidered its denial at the pleading of the school and approved of the move a week after the original "no" vote.