Urbana High School

URBANA — Urbana Bands’ “Room to Grow” campaign is more than halfway to its $100,000 fundraising goal, with “50,000-something” already committed, group leader and retired 30-year teacher Karen DeBauche reported to the school board.

Add that to $200,000 in district-designated COVID-19 relief funding and a good-sized chunk of Urbana schools’ sales tax revenue to make up the difference of a project with an early estimated price tag of $600,000 — and the high school band should have its long-awaited new space sometime in 2023, which just so happens to be the 100th anniversary of the program.

Board President Paul Poulosky cited two reasons he supports the move. The biggie: “They’re really not fitting very well in the (current) space” and deserve better.

“That, combined with the fact that across Wright Street, (Champaign Central‘s referendum-backed band) facilities have really improved,” becoming practically “palatial.”

Superintendent Jennifer Ivory-Tatum reminded the board and band backers that the project is up against the clock, with the $200,000 in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds having to be “completely spent” by September 2023.