Craig Walker’s email, Oct 1 2014, Chamber 4


I appreciate being able to view this discussion and understand the various points of view.

My interpretation of Mr Bambenek’s email was not to disparage Neil’s capabilities as an architect , but rather point out that the expertise required for schools is unique and specialized. As an investment banker that has financed schools across the Country I can tell you that the architects are usually specialist in school design. This is primarily because the various building codes and other safety factors for school design is very different from designing apartment buildings or commercial buildings.

As a comparison for example, I specialize in financing governmental and corporate entities, and if I was asked to evaluate the investment portfolio of an individual , while I am licensed to manage an individuals personal investments , it would be professional malpractice for me to do so. I have no experience in that area.

This is the point John is making, Neil has no experience designing new construction of schools and therefore is not professionally equipped to provide the analysis needed. If Neil can get a colleague who has actually designed and built schools professionally to back his assertions then that would provide substantial more credibility then Neil alone supporting a conclusion that his clients like yourself support .

My two cents on this issue is that the City of Champaign is the heart of a world class University that people all over the world come to work or attend, what reflection of who we are is being sent out when the primary obstacle being articulated to the current site is the location of the new school which is  3 miles from the current school. 3 miles.

I understand the transportation concerns but 3 miles can be resolved . More importantly there has to date not been one credible alternative presented. Spaulding is a site I initially championed but after hearing from the residents in the area who are strongly against it, my personal opposition to eminent domain utilization which would be required, and other design issues on the sight, the reality is that Spaulding is not viable .

Cost is another issue I have heard but the facts are its about $20 per month per $100k of house , and if we as a community are not willing to invest an amount that is less than what people spend for most everyday functions for a high tech brand new high school than again what a poor reflection of our priorities as a community.

I have been to Booker T Washington where I attended as a kid both before and after the new construction and I can tell you without a doubt there is a noticeable difference in the children’s enthusiasm and performance level in the new school . A new high school will bring not only a better educated student body , but a civic pride that comes with first class school facilities in a community. I have witnessed this firsthand in my professional travels and I am very hopeful to see this in my hometown community . Our kids deserve that and we should be eager to instill that type of responsibility, civic pride,into our kids.

The fact that kids in Champaign are in trailers and 95 degree classrooms, or being stuffed in a small band room ,( I played in marching, jazz, ms concert band in Central and it was an integral experience for me, I can’t imagine today’s kids use the same small room) and the litany of other facility issues is a stain upon the community of Champaign and I am hopeful that stain will be removed November 4th.

Thank you for your consideration ,

Craig Walker


One Response to “Craig Walker’s email, Oct 1 2014, Chamber 4”

  1. Rebecca Patterson Says:

    Boy, I’m really sorry the “stain” of Champaign Central affected you so highly!. I’m glad you can afford $20 a month to a massive debt. I was at the food bank on monday. I’m not willing to spend that money on something they haven’t thought through. I won’t be manipulated into it or bullied into it. They cannot even be honest about how we will pay for what we have now, pay to maintain what we have now. Do you really think they have any plan to take care of a “world-class high school”?

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