Board hears recommendations for Centennial renovation

Board hears recommendations for Centennial renovation

CHAMPAIGN — As the debate rages on over where to put the new Champaign Central, Unit 4 officials devoted Monday night's board meeting to the future of their other high school.

A district consultant told the school board that Centennial High School will need an additional 34 classrooms to meet projected enrollment and educational needs.

Jason Lembke of DLR Group recommended to the board that a renovated Centennial add the following:

— 19 regular classrooms

— Three small classrooms

— Seven science labs

— Five physical education stations

Lembke stressed that those numbers are only "a starting point," and could change as a final plan for what becomes of Centennial is developed.

The district plans to ask voters in November for more than $100 million to build a new Central and renovate Centennial. It also may ask taxpayers to cover the cost of changes to Unit 4's most outdated elementary and middle schools.

According to early estimates the district has been given, about $40 million of that would be allotted to Centennial. The newer of Champaign's two high schools was built in 1963 — 28 years after the Central building.

"We are already out of space, so we need to make up for space that we are already out of, plus make room for all the kids that are coming in," said school board member Kristine Chalifoux. "The last time any additions were done at Centennial, it served a smaller population than it does now. We have real need for our high schools in order to make them the type of schools that the community wants."

Lembke said the Centennial building utilizes 97 to 98 percent of the space needed for the school's current enrollment of 1,310 students. (Come fall, a leased trailer will sit outside the school's front entrance to accommodate the overflow and house classes).

A newly reconfigured Centennial is projected to hold 1,700 students by the time construction is completed, based on recent enrollment in elementary schools.

Lembke said that instead of using 97 to 98 percent of the space, the new building would ideally use a comfier 81 percent to 89 percent.

No cost estimates for the additional classrooms were provided Monday.

DLR Group made its recommendations following meetings with Champaign high school administrators, faculty and students, Lembke said.

Multiple other factors were taken into consideration in developing the Centennial plan, Lembke said.

They include:

— Basic housing for the students — keeping them "warm and safe and dry."

— Providing sufficient air quality and technology, as well as formal learning spaces.

— Aligning classroom spaces to the subject matter being taught.

— An individualized approach to education.

Lembke said DLR Group plans to have the final programming model for Centennial and Central finished by the end of June. The school board could vote on it at a special meeting on June 30.

Nadrozny named Kenwood principal

CHAMPAIGN — Kenwood Elementary School's fill-in principal will move to full-time starting on July 1.

Trevor Nadrozny was appointed to the position during Monday night's school board meeting. He has spent the past three years as Unit 4's director of teaching and learning — in addition to a recent temp role as Kenwood principal following the sudden, mid-semester departure of Lisa Geren.

Geren stepped down for personal reasons, Superintendent Judy Wiegand has said. Her last day was Feb. 28 and her resignation takes effect on June 30, five years after taking on a job that paid her $99,500 annually.

Nadrozny is no stranger to Unit 4's elementary school system, having served 11 years as Westview's principal before moving to the district office. He also spent one year as program development coordinator at Stratton Elementary.

—  JEFF D'ALESSIO

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ERE wrote on May 13, 2014 at 4:05 am
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Why even bother with a Centennial renovation? Central has had a dramatically inferior building c/w Centennial for 50+ years, in addition to the lack of any fields. I am sure any uptight folks in SW Champaign will survive having their kids go to an second rate Centennial building for the next 50 years. Besides,  the Centennial students could use the exercise in getting over to the new Central athletic facility. Seems like a 40 million dollar expense that is really not needed.