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Board votes to approve condominium development

Contributing Writer

Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 11:03

ParklandfromBradley

Photo by Burke Stanion/Prospectus News

This view overlooking Parkland College from Bradley Ave. will soon be obstructed once construction begins on the new condominium complex in July.

The Parkland College Board of Trustees made the decision to sell the Bradley Avenue frontage property last Tuesday. Buffs Real Estate Development Company, based in Boulder, Colo. now has a contract to purchase the nearly 40 acres of land for $3.4 million.

Condominiums will be built to offer additional housing for the rapidly growing student population.

Buffs owner, Tim Lancaster said, “We’ve had success with similar projects in other college towns, including Boulder, Colo., Lawrence, Kan., and Lincoln, Neb.”

Parkland President Tom Ramage stated after the meeting, “The deal will allow us to expand our program offerings and will assist in funding the new football stadium.”

It was standing room only at 7:30 p.m. in the D-244 conference room Tuesday, March 13. Members of the large audience were invited to express their opinions on the subject before the Board of Trustees made their final decision.

Many people support the proposed deal, but there is still criticism. Robert Conway of Champaign said that Parkland College has been instrumental in keeping agriculture alive in Illinois and has concerns about the future of the Agriculture program.

Students in the Agriculture program have annually used the land to raise crops. In order to continue this program, the board has decided to allocate some of the proceeds from the sale to purchase 100 acres of land west of Staley Road for the Agriculture students’ purposes. 

Still, others disapproved of the destruction of the red barn buildings and the S Wing as well as the hundreds of trees that blanket the area. 

The red barn and corncrib, until now, have remained as part of the original purchase agreement in 1967. Barbara Wolf, of Mahomet, said, “Breaking the commitment to keep the barn and corncrib intact is unethical and unforgiveable.”

A resolution was therefore proposed to honor the original 1967 agreement to keep the red bard and corncrib, which satisfied the concerns of some members of the audience. The trees will also be saved.

Tim Lancaster agreed to build on the area from corner of Bradley Avenue and Duncan Road reaching north to the Parkland entrance on Duncan Road. This change from the originally proposed Bradley Avenue frontage area was necessary to save the trees.

Rebecca Winslow of Saint Joseph said, “I’m so happy that the trees are safe. Many of the trees are already quite mature and I have been looking forward to the day when they produce lots of shade.”

Next fall, students will see condominium construction in progress along sided familiar sights such as the old red barn, corncrib and the trees.  In the end, everyone walked away happy. 

Discussion is now underway to determine a location for the new football stadium. President Ramage said, “It will be great to finally have a place for the soccer teams to call home, and we’re anxious to see our new football team in action.”

Architect James Hillboro has been selected by the Parkland Board of Trustees to present design concepts for the stadium later this year.

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