The Illini West School Board spent a year evaluating potential sites for a new high school. It chose a location next door. It is just east of the current high school's parking lot.
The 40-acre site is farmland that is currently covered by tall, green and brown corn plants.
Those who were hoping for a central location will be disappointed.
But Superintendent Kim Schilson says such a location would come with some expensive problems to solve.
She says, “Rural water lines are not big enough to handle the sprinkler systems that schools are required to have. And you would have to have your sewage treatment and somebody licensed with the EPA to monitor that sewage. So there were a lot of negatives that would have been ongoing costs for the school district to have chosen to build out in the country.”
Schilson says the chosen site offers tremendous advantages including the availability of utilities.
She says, “This property stood out from the very beginning because of its location (close) to the football field, softball field, the baseball field, the close proximity to where we're at.”
Schilson says the final cost of the land will be set at the time of the sale. She says the cost of farmland might be high but the board carefully weighed the potential costs of each site before making its decision.
The project is estimated to cost $27 million. The state board of education will pay for 68% of the cost. The district will put a $9 million bond issue before voters November 6th to cover its share.