Renovation work continues on the former Lawnview School, 2200 S. U.S. Route 68, to house the Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center (ESC), with administrators hoping to move the ESC offices early June.

The ESC board approved April 25 a change order to renovate the existing gymnasium space as a professional development area, Superintendent Dr. Dan Kaffenbarger said. The renovation, estimated to cost $56,000, had been dropped from the project because of cost.

“By going with (the gymnasium) as part of the current project, we save some money,” he said. “Bids were not going to come in cheaper if we bring in a new company. Plus the architects would have to repackage and rebid it, and that is an additional cost.”

The ESC is financing some of the cost of the building renovation. The total estimated renovation cost before the gymnasium was $374,000. The ESC is leasing the building from the Champaign County Commission and may purchase it at the end of the lease.

The ESC is re-configuring the office space for employees, creating a preschool space and transition classrooms for the project. Westerheide Construction of Sidney is doing the work, Kaffenbarger added.

Though the gym is being renovated to become a professional development training center, it could still be used as a gym if there is need, Kaffenbarger added. The training will not be an all-day, every-day kind of use, allowing for indoor recess if needed.

The gymnasium renovation adds four weeks to the renovation project. Work was scheduled to be finished in mid-May. The other areas of the building will be usable, which will allow staff to move the ESC operations from the county Community Center to the Lawnview facility. The ESC preschool, currently housed at the former Urbana Local Intermediate, will be moved once school lets out.

The ESC board also approved contracting with Rollins Moving of Springfield to move the central office, the preschool and transition classrooms at its meeting. The week of June 6 is the predicted moving week, Kaffenbarger said. That date depends on whether work is substantially done and occupancy approved.

Kaffenbarger added the ESC will try to keep its current office phone number after the move, though extension numbers for personnel may change.

By Casey S. Elliott

Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.