Architects unveil draft schematics of Central, Centennial renovations

Architects unveil draft schematics of Central, Centennial renovations

CHAMPAIGN — It will be another five years before construction is complete, but architects on Tuesday night unveiled the first glimpse at what Champaign's new-and-improved high schools could look like.

Representatives from Chicagoland's Perkins+Will and Urbana's IGW Architecture presented the school board with schematics — all marked "DRAFT" in big letters — for the two priciest projects of the six-school, $183.4 million referendum passed by voters last November.

"This is the first public document to come forward since our visioning of what the schools will be like," school board President Chris Kloeppel said.

The renovation and expansion plans for Central ($87.1 million in upgrades and updates) and Centennial ($63.3 million) that were shown in the renderings include many of the same features laid out previously by Unit 4 officials.

Among the highlights at Central:

— Construction of an atrium directly to the north of the current building.

— A single-floor career and technical education/music wing planned for the west side, with classrooms, a band room, vocal room and theater in the middle and a gymnasium farther east.

— A weight room, fitness room and storage on the lower level, with science labs, classrooms and a media center on the second level and additional classrooms on the third.

There were no drawings or discussion showing what would become of the nearby neighborhood properties Unit 4 has purchased, in part for athletic fields and extracurricular activities.

At Centennial, drawings showed:

— A new administration center located at the entrance of the current facility.

— Most of the new construction happening on two ends, with an academic wing to the south and a gymnasium, natatorium and career and technical education wing to the north.

— A second floor with additional classrooms, an auditorium and band, drama and art rooms.

"These drawings give us an idea of what fits in each space and what to do with the space," Kloeppel said.

The school board is scheduled to consider approving the schematic designs for the two high schools at its Jan. 22 meeting.

Once that happens, work on building designs is expected to continue through June 2018.

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champaign61821 wrote on October 11, 2017 at 8:10 am

I guess it shouldn't surprise me that gymnasiums (read: sports) are the focus of both of these additions to the two high schools. Why are sports always prioritized so highly? 

It's the main reason I voted NO on the referendum. It's unfortunate they tied many of the needed improvements (e.g. Dr. Howard elementary), to wasteful spending on new HS gyms and sports fields. 

justthefacts wrote on October 11, 2017 at 9:10 am

Thesea are not private academies (college prep schools), they are public high schools. They need to meet the needs of a diverse population, including music, theater, and athletics. 

lga wrote on October 11, 2017 at 9:10 am

Would it surprise you to learn that sitting at a desk composing an essay or solving equations require much less square footage than, say, a basketball game?

I see an academic wing on both buildings. Physcial health, music education, and theater education are important, too. But those require more space. It's that simple. 

CU_townie_2_time_UI_grad wrote on October 11, 2017 at 9:10 am

You tell em! It's not like Americans have a problem with obesity, or teenagers have a lack of outlets that teach discipline, or colleges are looking at extra curriculars when making admission decisions.  We should abolish sports altogether!!!



RatDog wrote on October 11, 2017 at 9:10 am

Central HS will be a scattered hodge podge of buildings & parking lots & narrrow vehicle lanes with dangerous and disruptive crosswalks on Church street all because the ignorant voters wanted "Central to stay central" for some lame reasons. The cost factor wasn't even an issue to these ignorant people. Current cost estimates are even higher than before! Because of this, several hisoric buildings will be demolished. Of course, the ugly apartment builds there will remain. The north development idea was the way to go in the long run. The way Champagin is growing, a new HS will need to be built in 20 years anyway. There was plenty of room for expansion up north. But the ignorant have spoken.