School demolition, reconstruction set to begin

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Photo from The News-Gazette Photo from The News-Gazette
Photo from The News-Gazette Photo from The News-Gazette
Photo from The News-Gazette Photo from The News-Gazette

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) – Champaign Unit 4 district leaders approved funding as it prepares to rebuild an older school.

The News-Gazette reports the school board gave the green light to a budget of over $17 million for the demolition and reconstruction of Dr. Howard Elementary School. It includes over $14.9 million in direct expenses and another $2.7 million in indirect costs. Direct expenses include demolition, work on the site and needed equipment.

Dr. Howard first opened in 1910.

The paper reports the redesigned school, which will start construction in August 2018, is expected be two stories tall. Higher grade levels and other teaching spaces will be on the first two stories, while the gym will be placed near the front on the first floor for security reasons.

It will also feature a one-way bus system heading in and out of the school lot on University Avenue, with the goal of stopping traffic congestion.

The current Dr. Howard setup includes a “cafegymatorium”, where everything from meals to gym classes and performances happen. It’s located at 1117 W. Park Ave. in Champaign.

Students will spend the next two school years at the Columbia Center before moving into the new building in the fall of 2020.

Other projects in the Unit 4 referendum include renovations at Central High School ($87.1 million) and Centennial High School ($63.3 million).

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