Zola: Dr. Howard moving to Columbia Center during construction

Zola: Dr. Howard moving to Columbia Center during construction

CHAMPAIGN — The game of school-construction dominoes will begin again in earnest next spring when Dr. Howard Elementary School’s staff packs up for a move across town.

The 107-year-old building at 1117 W. Park Ave. is scheduled to be torn down in 2018 to make way for a new school, so teachers and students will set up shop temporarily at the Columbia Center, 1103 N. Neil St., a former elementary and middle school.

A map of the location change is below:

That means the district will have to find a new home for a dozen programs and 75 employees currently housed at the Columbia Center, including the Family Information Center, Superintendent Susan Zola said Monday.

Some programs may move to the Mellon Administrative Center, but Zola said not all the pieces are in place yet. The district is also looking at potential rental space in the community.

“We’re trying to do a more long-range and thoughtful plan,” said Zola, who was to brief school board members on the plans Monday night.

Columbia was also the temporary home for Booker T. Washington Elementary School for about 18 months when it was rebuilt in 2010-11.

And the building that is now the International Prep Academy, 1605 W. Kirby Ave., C, was used as a “flex school” to house students from Kenwood, Bottenfield and Westview elementary schools as those buildings were renovated from 2012 to 2015. It was formerly Carrie Busey Elementary School, which moved to a new building in Savoy in 2012.

Dr. Howard staff will move out of their building at the end of May and June. Construction on the new $16.1 million school is slated to begin in fall 2018 and wrap up by spring 2020, so students will be at the Columbia Center for both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years.

A full initial schedule of construction for the district is below: