Unit 4 OKs buying $1.5M warehouse

Unit 4 OKs buying $1.5M warehouse

CHAMPAIGN — More than 1,000 tubs of science supplies and a need for more storage space have prompted Unit 4 to buy a $1.5 million building in north Champaign.

On Monday night, the Champaign school board approved a purchase agreement with the seller of a warehouse located at 806-808 Pioneer St.

The science tubs are now stored in the gym at the Columbia Center on North Neil Street. But as students and staff at Dr. Howard Elementary prepare to use that building as a temporary school for the next two academic years, the district had to figure out where to move the tubs.

"Currently, these tubs take up the entire gym at Columbia and require a lot of logistics to get them out and distributed," said Tom Lockman, Unit 4's chief financial officer.

"Acquisition of this property would provide sufficient space for that," Lockman said.

He added that the warehouse on Pioneer would also be large enough for the district's food service workers to relocate there as well, which would create a sort of campus for Unit 4. The building — about 15,350 square feet in size, according to district Executive Director of Operations Paul Douglas — is located near 1301 and 1400 Hagan Street, which is where Unit 4's transportation and service centers are located.

"They will be able to collaborate directly," Douglas said. "Overall, having this additional space and being able to utilize this space for our operations and maintenance teams really helps and benefits us to not only be effective, but efficient. We operate with these groups on a day-to-day basis."

The purchase is the second seven-figure building the district has agreed to buy the past two months. On Feb. 12, the school board approved the $3.4 million purchase of an office building at 502 W. Windsor Road to house various district administration and teaching staff.

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787 wrote on March 27, 2018 at 6:03 am

$1.5 million for a junky old metal building that should have been painted years ago.

Seems about right for Unit 4's standards.  Now that they're flush with money, like the MTD, no price is too high for anything.

RGs wrote on March 27, 2018 at 8:03 am

Does that price tag include the "extensive renovations" the owner is allegedly doing prior to closing? Either way, let's revisit some of attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's words WRT how there is no money to reuse Burnham for district purposes:

"The only place for those [funds] to come from is to cut the proposed upgrades and improvements to Central High School. What gets cut? Does Unit 4 go to the science department and tell them that the lab space, equipment is not going to hapen. Do we go to the drama department and tell them theater is not important in the grand scheme, so we are not going to fund that...Do we cut the air conditioning at Central . Do we say people 60 to 70 years ago didn't have air conditioning so future students don't need it."

The Windsor Ave. property acquisition was underway when Fitzgerald was, "misleading," could you say?, the Plan Commission about finances on 11-15-17. Not a peep out of co-presenter, Chris Kloeppel, to "clarify" Fitzgerald's "mistatements" about Unit 4's dire "poverty." 

Politicalchemy wrote on March 27, 2018 at 8:03 am

806-808 Pioneer St., assessed market value $360k for 2019 property tax purposes. Purchased from Shapland Realty.

rsp wrote on March 27, 2018 at 10:03 am

Those numbers are for property tax purposes, not for selling purposes. Considering how little change there is for so many years that area might need to be reassessed.

wykhb wrote on March 28, 2018 at 7:03 am

That's odd, I know my property has been "specially" reassessed more than once per year at least twice in the last 4  years.  The value just rose too quickly for an annual to keep up I suppose.   :-/ 

bkp wrote on March 27, 2018 at 10:03 am

They'll never use these "science supplies" they're just hoarding them for no good reason. Here is an idea, computer class where kids learn business and marketing by selling surplus on eBay and other marketplaces.

Objective Reporter wrote on March 27, 2018 at 1:03 pm

How do you know the science materials won't be used?