Central High School

Central North Fields Project


The Central High School North Fields project includes new fields for soccer/band and softball. See the presentation video for details.


FAQs (updated May 2021)

Q: How will the neighborhood be affected by increased traffic and parking at the new fields?


A: Over 200 spaces, an increase over the existing number of off-street parking spaces, will be provided across Church St. and shared with the high school. Since events at the fields will take place outside of school hours, visitors to the fields can utilize the same parking as the school.  

CROSSWALK: Traffic easing curb bump-outs and a push-button crossing signal light were recently added to this intersection as part of this project. They were designed in cooperation with the City of Champaign to provide a safer crossing for students. We will also discuss with the City the possibility of moving the school zone signs further east to alert drivers to the possibility of pedestrians. 

PEDESTRIAN WALKWAY: The pedestrian walkway north to south from Church St. to Hill St. will be open 24/7 and have no gates. The sidewalk will be approximately eight feet wide and well lit.

Q: Will there be designated hours for community use?


A: The District understands the community’s desire to use the fields and will review community use policies and procedures. 

Q: What is being done to manage stormwater and runoff?
A: The new green spaces and natural grass playing surface on the fields allow more rainwater to be naturally absorbed onsite as compared to when much of the site was paved. As a result, this project reduces the stormwater burden to existing City infrastructure. The stormwater will be collected onsite and connected to the existing City storm structures currently utilized. Onsite stormwater detention is not required. The underground drainage system will meet the City stormwater requirements. 

Q: What is being done to control light pollution and spill?
A: Light pollution will be minimized by using “night-friendly” light fixtures for all architectural lighting – meaning no architectural light fixture will have an up-light component.  For athletic field lighting, thorough photometric analysis will be performed to precisely locate field lighting poles in an effort to adequately illuminate the athletic fields while also minimizing light trespass to adjacent properties. Additionally, the LED athletic field lighting fixtures are equipped with internal optics and external visors to further curtail the lighting distribution from each fixture. The final photometric plan will be reviewed with the City of Champaign.

Q: What will happen to the trees in this area?


A: The design team and the District are working to save as many of the large trees as possible, with particular attention being given to the old ginkgo tree on the NW corner of Church and Lynn. The large tree on the Southwest corner of Church and Lynn was preserved and protected in the last phase when the new parking lot was built. Tree preservation can be tricky and without guaranteed results, but the design and construction teams are fully invested in saving mature healthy trees where possible. New trees will be planted strategically to screen the dugouts and bleachers and reduce their visual impact from the street. Landscaping plans were part of the Planned Development with the City, which will also review the site’s tree preservation plan.

Q: What type of fence will be installed?


A: Softball and baseball fields at this level of play almost always have chain-link as the fences need to stop balls and resist collisions from fielders without damage or injury.  There is no fence surrounding the property, just the fields themselves.

-- Soccer/marching band will have a black, ornamental fence. 

-- Softball with have black, vinyl coated, chain link. 

The west property line will have a wood privacy barrier on the property line. 

Most of the fencing is setback from the right-of-way. 

Q: Will existing brick pavers be salvaged?


A: Existing bricks will be salvaged and the project team will work to incorporate some of them into the design. Others will be made available to the public via a Request for Proposal to purchase and salvage. Any remainder will be offered to the public for free on a first come, first served basis. The project team has already incorporated some pavers from Park Ave. into the construction of the parking lot and the District and has given away many more.

Q: Will this area be monitored?


A: Security cameras will monitor the site. 

Q: What is the construction schedule?


A: The construction schedule is still in development, but work is expected to begin in spring 2022 and be ready for competition/use in spring 2023.  


School bells & announcements will be heard at the site over the intercom system because the fields are a physical education classroom space.   These will be turned off during winter and summer breaks, when the fields are not in use for classroom spaces. 

    Central High School
    Posted on 10/20/2020

    About the project

    The Central High School project is an $102.7 million expansion and renovation that will meet the capacity needs of our student population. The improvements will allow us to:

    • Maintain current school site in core of community.
    • Construct three-story classroom addition following selective demolition of northwest wing of the building to accommodate growing enrollment and eliminate portable classrooms.
    • Renovate and repair existing infrastructure, including building-wide air conditioning, new windows, and updated security systems.
    • Modernize classrooms, auditorium, cafeteria, music, arts, and renovate existing Career & Technical Education Spaces.
    • Purchase properties to double site size.
    • Expand gym space and construct on-site fields for student participation in PE, athletics, and band.

    What's happening now?

    • Spring 2018 - After meetings with District and school staff and two community info nights (January 10 and April 17), the project management team reviewed and incorporated feedback. Design will continue until the end of 2018.  

    • Summer 2018 - Historic preservation and salvage on adjacent acquired properties was completed. Hazardous materials abatement continued within the school and surrounding properties; demolition work for some of the acquired property followed in August. Site preparation and utility work was completed prior to the start of the school year. Construction fencing was installed late August/early September. 

    • Fall 2018 - Hazardous materials abatement in the residential properties surrounding Central was ongoing, as well as demolition and additional utility relocations. New Street was closed Nov. 19-26 due to an Illinois American Water project. 

    • Winter 2018-2019 - Hazardous materials abatement in the residential properties surrounding Central was completed and was ongoing in the high school. Demolition and utility relocation and installation was ongoing. The community was invited to share feedback on proposed traffic plans for New St. and Lynn St. on Dec. 6. Revised parking restrictions for New St. and Lynn St. are now in effect. Traffic revisions for these streets are still under review by the City of Champaign. Park Avenue closed on Jan. 4. Bid documents for the Central renovation and expansion work became available in February. 

    • Spring 2019 - Bids were received for the additions and renovations on March 26 and underwent evaluation. After spring break, Seely Hall became part of the construction activity, and the main entrance became Decker Theatre. Phase 2 utility work was completed in April. Hazardous material abatement occurred in some areas of the building. A groundbreaking event was held April 8. Construction began for the multipurpose gym addition. 

    • Summer 2019 - Hazardous material abatement.  Structural work for the new gym addition.  Full renovation of several areas inside the school, including the 3rd floor of the original building, Combes Gym, Seely Hall.  Various site utilities and other site work were on-going.  New windows and HVAC installed in most of the original building.  Prepared temporary trailers for use during Fall 2019 semester.

    • Fall 2019 - Work continued on north gym addition. Pre cast paneling set during fall. 
    • Winter/Spring 2020 - The shell for the new addition completed and weather-tight.  Interior build-out continued.  Some new HVAC equipment was installed in a small portion of the existing building. Preparation and coordination for Summer 2020 work continued.  The procurement process for some of the new furniture began.  Hazardous material abatement continued. Mechanical/electrical/plumbing rough-in work continued.  Most walls placed and painting began in many areas.  Some exterior concrete and site work began as the weather started to cooperate. Some HVAC work was completed in the existing building as well as some minor punchlist items. Preparation for Summer 2020 work continued.
    • Summer/Fall 2020 - Hazardous material abatement continued.  The new addition received finish coats of paint and flooring throughout. The renovation of the existing spaces continued, with walls going up and painting underway in several areas.  Mechanical/electrical/plumbing rough-in work continued in the existing building and most of the new replacement windows were installed.  Mass building demo of the Theater/CTE shops wing began. The first phase of furniture arrived in July. Exterior site work for this phase neared completion and landscaping followed.

    • Fall 2020 - The planned hazardous material abatement for the building is complete.  The new addition has been occupied, but some work remains on punch list items. The renovation of the existing spaces on the 1st and 2nd floor of the 1934 portion of the building were substantially complete  This phase’s mechanical/electrical/plumbing rough-in work was completed in the 1954 portion of the existing building. Almost all of the building now has air conditioning and new windows.  Mass building demolition of the Theater/CTE shops/Band wing was completed. Exterior site work for this phase was completed and landscaping was installed.  Programming and Design work began for the North Fields project.

    •  Winter 2020/2021 - Structural work for the new Academic/Theater/Bands/Shops addition has begun in earnest.  The skeleton of the structure will soon become visible.  Programming and design work for the North Fields and Combes Gym renovation projects will continue.  Hazardous material abatement, salvage, and demolition of 606 W. Church will be completed.

    • Spring/Summer 2021 - The new Academic/Theater/Band Shops addition is taking shape.  Structural steel frame is complete, concrete slabs and masonry walls were going up in April.  Underground plumbing work in the theater and culinary arts is complete.  Face brick begins in late spring. The target is to be dried in on the 3rd floor academic area by mid-June.  Interior renovations will begin in June in the existing school, west side, a portion of the basement, 2nd floor and complete in August.  Bids were received for the replacement of Combes Gym flooring. Construction will start in late May. The North Fields project is in the design phase targeting completion of design in the fall.

    • Fall 2021 - Exterior masonry and window installation of the new west academic addition continues in an effort to get the building weather-tight.  Interior walls and mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection rough-ins are on-going.  Summer 2021 renovations in the existing building, west side, 2nd floor, were completed in August and students are back in the classrooms. Construction documents for the North Fields soccer, marching band and softball fields project are complete and the Board of Education approved the design and estimate at the September 13 meeting. The District will begin preparations for sending documents to contractors to bid in October. Combes Gym renovations will be substantially complete in November.

    An update on all Unit 4 building projects was presented at Referendum Oversight Committee on March 2, 2020. Click HERE to view a PDF of the presentation.  

    What will the changes look like?

    The images below show the presentation to the Board of Education about project plans as of February 11, 2019.

    Download the PDF Watch the board meeting(link is external)

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