New options on agenda

New options on agenda

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CHAMPAIGN — If Unit 4 officials want to expand Central High School on-site instead of building anew, they may soon have a way.

Monday night, the school board will vote to secure the option of purchasing eight properties northeast of the 81-year-old building.

If approved, the board will sign separate real-estate option agreements with the three owners of the eight properties, for a period of 18 months, giving the district the exclusive option of purchasing them, according to the contracts.

The buildings include the Christian Science Society Church and Reading Room (605 W. Hill St., 602 W. Church St.); the McKinley Family YMCA and adjacent house (500 West Church St., 606 W. Church St.); and a series of Hurst Real Estate houses that have been converted into apartments (603 W. Church St., 606 W. Park St., 201 N. Lynn St., and 203 N. Lynn St.).

The board's real-estate representative, Pat Fitzgerald of Meyer Capel, will outline the details of the agreements Monday, and the board will vote on whether to approve the measure following the presentation, President Chris Kloeppel said. Those contracts "will not obligate the district to purchase any of the properties," Unit 4 spokeswoman Stephanie Stuart said, but it would lock in purchase prices:

— McKinley Family YMCA: $1,880,000.

— Hurst properties: $1,729,000.

— Christian Science Society Church: $699,000.

Unit 4 will have to put money down to hold each property. If the agreements are approved, the district will pay $10,000 to hold all four Hurst homes.

The commercial properties are far pricier, costing the district $4,000 a month to secure the church and YMCA. The school district also has the option of terminating those agreements before the 18 months are up.

If the board decides to buy the parcels before August 2017, it can apply 50 percent of each holding payment toward the purchase. So, if the district asked taxpayers in November to approve an overhaul of Central High in its longtime University Avenue neighborhood — and voters OK'd it — Unit 4 could apply $18,000 of the $36,000 it spent holding the YMCA property toward the $1.88 million total.

Kloeppel said the real estate moves "in no way" indicate the board is leaning toward expanding Central on-site rather than building on the 80 acres it owns at Interstate Drive (an option voters rejected in November 2014 and April 2015) or looking at another in-fill location.

The properties are simply "very attractive options," he said.

"If this is approved, we will then turn all the information over to our special committee and our construction company and our architects. It's all starting to come together. We will now have secure options and know what they will cost us if we buy them.

"We will be able to look at these options as well as Interstate Drive and be able to compare prices, like we have 80 acres on the edge of town that cost us ($3.2 million) and we also can look at these properties and ideas near Central. By securing these options, we are able to have a conversation realistically about what could happen at Central."

On Monday, the board is also set to approve agreements with Perkins and Will, IGW Architecture and O'Shea Builders for architectural and construction management services as it decides on a long-term facility plan for the district.

It will also approve a plan for a special community committee that will assist the board in making facility decisions.

In addition to the option agreements, the board will vote Monday to purchase a home at 711 Sherwood Terrace, adjacent to Franklin Middle School, for $62,500.

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amf wrote on January 23, 2016 at 9:01 am

Am I mistaken, or weren't the Y and the church recently listed for sale for far lower than this?  I am almost certain that the Y was not listed at over $1 million.  Or was it?

99characters wrote on January 23, 2016 at 12:01 pm

"The Champaign Park District considered purchasing it but passed when it determined it would have cost $2 million to buy, plus another $8 million to $9 million for remodeling — compared to the $10.5 million cost of building a new 35,000-square-foot aquatic center at Spalding Park on North Harris Street."

Unit 4: 'We're looking into' McKinley


Mr Dreamy wrote on January 23, 2016 at 1:01 pm

And when someone files for historic preservation of any or all of those buildings a wrench will have been thrown into this set of gears, eh?

Mastadon-27 wrote on January 23, 2016 at 1:01 pm

If the state continues along its current financial path, there won't be any funding coming to the "wealthy" Champaign Unit 4 district. The property tax payers will be financing the entire price for any facilities contruction or maintenance for years into the future. Taxpayers now pay, through their property taxes, 70% of the district's budget with half of their assessed property taxes each year. Does the BOE think the taxpayers will vote to increase their property taxes?

justthefacts wrote on January 23, 2016 at 5:01 pm

Over $4 million plus demolition/site prep costs vs $3.2 million for 80 acres with minimal site prep. Maybe the Olympian Drive site was more economical?

787 wrote on January 23, 2016 at 5:01 pm

Here's the problem with your math.... the voters said TWICE that they didn't want a school on that 80 acres.  

rsp wrote on January 23, 2016 at 5:01 pm

Don't forget the much higher cost for transportation to use the Interstate Dr. site.

justthefacts wrote on January 23, 2016 at 7:01 pm

Just pointing out that the capital costs appear to be less at the Interstate Drive site.  

amf wrote on January 23, 2016 at 8:01 pm

Now I remember, I was thinking of the price the owner paid for the Y building just a few years ago - around $450k, I think.  Why would it now be priced at $1.4 million more?

rsp wrote on January 25, 2016 at 4:01 pm

He did some improvements to some of it, plus prices are going up. I haven't looked into that area though.

BruckJr wrote on January 25, 2016 at 2:01 pm

No means no.

justthefacts wrote on January 25, 2016 at 3:01 pm

No to what; no new schools ever?

williamsun wrote on March 09, 2016 at 6:03 am
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This is because there are so many more properties on  plots for sale in lahore the market now than there were before the bubble burst.