While the old school is closing, the portion of it shaped like a castle will be saved, Theil said. The remainder of the building will be demolished to make way for more parking.
“It’s really a point of pride for our community,” Theil said. “There are many, many people in our community that love the castle and it’s very unique. There aren’t many high schools that look like a castle so it’s become ingrained into the community over the years.”
Urbana High School students check out the gymnasium in the new high school. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF
The district is still working on plans on how to use the castle, Theil said, but ideas are it could be used as an alumni center or community gathering place.
The new high school will offer technology, security and air conditioning that the old building couldn’t offer, Theil said.
Students are sentimental about leaving the old high school, they said, but look forward to moving to the new building.
MORE: Urbana ‘castle’ will stay standing after new high school opens
The new school is better designed for education in the 21st century, Urbana student Savanna Copeland said.
“It would be nice to have bigger hallways and bigger staircases so its easier to move throughout the school and that’s what we are going to get so it’s exciting,” she said.
Getting new technology and having things like a band room that is built for acoustics also will be nice, she said, as will new safety measures like classroom windows that open out to allow students to escape in an emergency.
The anticipation for the new buildings is high, senior Logan Rooney said.
“Everybody is really ready to get over there,” he said. “We have been talking about it for so long.”
Students on Thursday were allowed to go into the new school to get acquainted with it. Students got an idea where their lockers will be, classrooms and restrooms.
“It’s going to be a new experience for everyone,” Rooney said.
Having access for students with disabilities to all parts of the school is important to senior Bronwyn Walker.
READ: Urbana schools put finances online as its builds $65M new school
“One of the biggest things (in the old buildings) is there really is no way to get into the building, except for the auditorium, without going up or down some stairs,” Walker said.
Access will be a lot better in the building, Theil said.
Copeland compared the anticipation of the move like the day before Christmas.
“Everyone is excited,” she said. “It’s like if you have a giant family and everybody is getting ready. You know you are going to get something new and fun.”
By the numbers:
120: Age of the old high school
88,271: Square footage of the new building
$25.1 million: Cost to build the new high school
61 percent: Share of the project paid for by the state
Source: Urbana City Schools.
The Springfield News-Sun has covered the bond issue, the construction and the progress of the new school buildings in Urbana fore several years and will continue to provide unmatched coverage of local schools.