Unit 4 construction | Some athletes get new digs this summer

Unit 4 construction | Some athletes get new digs this summer

CHAMPAIGN — As construction for the new Central and Centennial high schools goes into high gear this summer, many high school athletes will be using alternative venues for practices and workouts.

"The main gyms at Centennial and Central will be impacted by summer construction work," said Unit 4 Chief Communications Officer John Lyday.

As a result, many activities traditionally taking place at the two high school gyms won't happen there this summer while construction crews take over the sites.

"Summer workouts for wrestling, boys' and girls' basketball, volleyball, dance and cheer will be moved to other Unit 4 schools, including the gyms at Edison, Jefferson, Garden Hills and Kenwood," said Lyday. "The specifics of the schedule are still being determined."

Lyday said that, at least through the summer months, access at the high school main gyms will be closed.

"Some open gym events may be hosted at Unit 4 middle schools once the schedule for accommodating summer workouts is completed," he said.

Central Principal Joe Williams, whose own office will be relocated for the summer, said preparation work has begun for this summer's changes.

But, once school resumes in the fall, he anticipates having both Combes Gym and the west gym for another school year.

"After next year, the west gym will be demolished," said Williams. "Not much is happening to Combes due to budget constraints. However, after next year, we will have our new three-court gym, locker rooms and spaces that will become fitness areas."

"It is anticipated that both high schools will be able to host in-season events at the home schools," said Lyday.

Williams said Central's fitness areas will temporarily be used as regular classrooms until the summer of 2022 when they are turned back into fitness spaces.

"There will be a lot of shuffling around of academic spaces due to the phasing of construction," said Williams. "We will be okay for our physical education program due to the new gym, even when the west gym is demolished."

Williams said Central Athletics Director Jane Stillman, Centennial Athletics Director Tony Millard and District Athletics Director Orlando Thomas have worked to create schedules that will help accommodate the high school programs throughout construction.

"As always, we are remaining flexible due to unforeseen situations," said Williams.

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