The Urbana Planning Commission will meet Monday, Oct. 26, to determine whether the site plans for the proposed Urbana City Schools’ pre-kindergarten to grade 8 building are acceptable for development.
The review will not be final, but it gives school officials and architects enough go-ahead to move forward with more detailed site plan designs, which include building heights and setbacks, Superintendent Charles Thiel told the Urbana school board at its Tuesday meeting. The $68 million project will be funded in part by a voter-approved 7.15-mill, 28-year property tax bond issue, and the majority of the cost will be funded by the state.
The elementary/middle school building footprint is largely designed, with details needing to be ironed out. Parent and public traffic would enter the property on Community Drive, while buses and teachers would use a secondary access point from Boyce Street. Visitors could not pass through from Boyce Street to Community Drive; only emergency vehicles would have access to move a gate that allows pass-through.
Other items that need to be ironed out include the location of the multi-use field and softball field on the property. Thiel said the current possible location is problematic for emergency access. The final design is estimated to be complete in February.
In the next few weeks, the district will submit a preliminary site plan for the redesigned Urbana High School, on its current location. The preliminary design demolishes the existing building, except for the “Castle,” auditorium and gym, and would move them eastward. Parking lots would be scattered around the new building and between the Castle and auditorium and gym. Site access for parent dropoff would be from Washington Avenue, with bus/student dropoff coming from Carson Avenue.
Both new school buildings will have two-story elements, Thiel said.
Thiel cautioned that this site plan could change, depending on what the city requires. He said he did not expect too much difficulty in getting approval for the project from the Planning Commission, since the site is already the location of a school that needs to be rebuilt. The site may need a variance for parking because of the old auditorium needing a set amount of parking spaces by city regulations.
Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.