Dr. Howard nearing end & new beginning

Local News
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — While Central High School may be hitting a roadblock when it comes to renovations, Dr. Howard Elementary is moving full steam ahead.

This is the last school year for the 107-year old building. Starting next year, the entire thing will be torn down.

At last year’s election, the school district said voters approved authorizing the sale of more than $183 million in bonds to finance some projects, including the demolition of Dr. Howard.

Teachers are excited about it. Christmas is coming twice for students.

“It’s like Christmas, right? Christmas in August, coming into a new building.”

Because, in the fall of 2020, they’ll be walking into an entirely new building. Debi Stapleton has been teaching here for 14-years and says there’s a discrepancy between old and new schools.

“When I walk into the other buildings for meetings or trainings, there’s such a different feel in the building. It’s kind of like the ‘have and have nots’ to put it bluntly.”

Teachers are asked for input on what they might want to see.

“All the teachers are giving input and we’re rallying for collaborative spaces because there’s no place the entire school can assemble.”

While students are waiting, they’ll be placed at the Columbia Center, but the assistant principal says she already can’t wait to get back.

“This is a great building. It’s a wonderful neighborhood and we’ll be right back here, but it’ll be different so we want to give the proper homage.”

The school will cost $16 million. There aren’t any designs yet, but they’re coming in the next few weeks.

Columbia has been used while other schools were being renovated, including Booker T. Washington. Students were there for 18-months while the school was rebuilt between 2010 – 2011.

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