Urbana school district purchases property


Urbana City Schools officials have purchased a 68.9-acre parcel of property for the new elementary/middle school on South U.S. Route 68, south of Urbana, and are looking at finalizing the purchase of a neighboring three-acre parcel for the entrance to the school.

The district purchased the larger parcel on Dec. 7, Urbana Superintendent Charles Thiel said, but has not finalized the purchase of the smaller parcel. The district also needs to see if and how it would combine the two parcels for the entire site.

The larger parcel was chosen as a preferred site for the new school over property the district owns on Community Drive next to the Champaign Family YMCA in Urbana. The Community Drive site has methane concerns with the neighboring former city landfill, and the district had disagreements with the city over placement of a roadway.

The site on South Route 68 is between Vintage Drive Thru and Campground Road. The three-acre parcel may need to undergo an official survey before it can be purchased, Thiel said.

District staff and architects and planners are working on finalizing the site design for the elementary/middle school, and the district will go through the process of having the property annexed into the city.

Thiel said there have been “positive” discussions with the city regarding the sewer line to be built to the site. The existing line to the Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center (the former Lawnview School) and Vancrest of Urbana is not large enough to serve the school. Thiel said the district has been discussing the possibility of having the sewer line be a city line, which would offset some of the cost of building it. If it is a city line, it would foster other developments along that stretch of road, Thiel said.

Thiel said previously the hope is to begin construction on the school in the spring. Construction work on the high school has begun and it is hoped it will be completed in summer 2019. Students are predicted to move into the new high school by March 2018.

By Casey S. Elliott


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

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