CHAMPAIGN – When Parkland students return to school next fall and step into the college's gym, they'll see a much different place, with new bleachers, flooring, lights and paint colors.
"It's a brighter look. It's a more modern look," said Jim Bustard, director of the Parkland Physical Plant, of the planned gym remodeling. "It's almost a difference of night and day."
SIDELL – Jamaica schools officials are looking to issue at least $300,000 in life-safety bonds this spring to make repairs to the school buildings and parking lot.
"It's time to make these improvements," board President Ron Metzger said. "We don't want to get to the point where things get rundown."
WESTVILLE – School officials heard a presentation Wednesday on the status of the district's summer school and after-school academic programs, both of which are seeking renewed funding.
Alice Kirby, the executive director of Project Success, said the district had benefited greatly from the grant-supported 21st Century Community Learning Program over the past four years, and that she hoped to be able to renew the grant for another five years to continue the programs.
CHAMPAIGN – Thanks to a collaborative arts project between the private Next Generation School and public Westview Elementary School, students not only discovered things about themselves but also about each other.
Roughly 26 fourth- and fifth-graders from each school visited the other school, where they created lukasas, or African memory boards, and African textile pieces that eventually were revised to become banners.
URBANA – Preston Williams will continue to provide leadership as superintendent for the Urbana school district for another four years.
The Urbana school board voted 6-0 Tuesday to extend Williams' contract for two years through 2013.
URBANA – The University of Illinois College of Media will lose two top administrators this summer.
Dean Ron Yates has decided to step down, effective Aug. 15. And Walt Harrington, the head of the Department of Journalism, will relinquish that position and go back to teaching full-time when his current sabbatical ends. Both announced their decisions to college faculty and staff recently.
MAHOMET – Mahomet-Seymour parent Robin Hamilton held up a catheter at Monday's school board meeting.
"This is nothing to be afraid of," said Hamilton, whose 5-year-old daughter needs her catheter changed every three hours. "You can't hurt a child with one of these."
VILLA GROVE – Spectators at Villa Grove school events will soon be a little safer sitting in the bleachers thanks to improvements approved by the school board Monday night.
The bleachers in the large gym require several modifications to be compliant with Illinois safety codes.
FARMER CITY – Sherry Emerson, Blue Ridge school district transportation director, thanked administrators, students and bus drivers Monday evening for their cooperation and flexibility in coping with a police standoff in Farmer City on Friday.
Emerson said that around 11 a.m. that day, she decided the district would need an alternate plan for the bus stop at Walnut and Allen streets if the standoff had not ended by dismissal.
URBANA – The courthouse evacuation wasn't in the script. Neither was the part about the expert witness forgetting his glasses.
A few bumps in the road aside, four future attorneys managed to get through their mock trial unscathed Monday – despite some concerns about the rather youngish jury.