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Latino State News

Mayor Emanuel Touts $660 Million Investment in School Infrastructure

CPS Capital Program will Improve Facilities and Technologies at 439 Schools; Benefit 285,000 Students

Mayor Rahm Emanuel visited Sauganash and Nathan Hale Elementary Schools today to highlight the need for and impact of the Chicago Public Schools recently approved $660 million capital program.

“We are making one of the largest investments that any city has made in its schools,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This is more than an investment in buildings and bricks and mortar.  This is building an environment that welcomes students, reinforces their self-worth and sets the right tone for education.”

The Capital Program is used to support the facilities and physical assets used to deliver educational programming, including projects that relieve overcrowding, create a positive learning environment, upgrade buildings to make them accessible to people with disabilities, as well as to acquire physical assets to support programs such as special build-outs for career and technology laboratories.

Sauganash Elementary recently opened a $10.5 million addition, which was financed by the Capital Program, to relieve overcrowding. Hale Elementary, which has 864 students, is scheduled to receive $15 million from the Capital Program to build an annex to relieve its overcrowding.

CPS’ fiscal-year capital budget was approved in August and included $391 million for a variety of improvements. In December, the CPS board approved a $269 million appropriation for externally-funded projects.

The specific capital investments budgeted in 2012 will address critical safety, nutritional, early childhood, IT and college and career-ready initiatives designed to help drive student achievement. Specific projects include:

  $14 million for work that supports college and career programs at a number of high schools, serving more than 6,000 students at Lindblom, Richards, Roosevelt, Schurz, Simeon and Sullivan. Among those programs are pre-engineering, culinary arts and hospitality, business, digital media and information technology. Separately, college and career program enhancements are also part of a $75 million capital project at Chicago Vocational that includes a major rehabilitation of the building which serves about 1,000 students.
  $18 million for information and technology services, including upgrading IT networks at 120 schools serving about 86,000 students. Much of that money comes from federal E-Rate funding.
  $9.9 million in state grant funds and CPS matching contributions for early childhood centers in order to increase early childhood services in underserved communities. Schools that stand to benefit from this funding include Camras, Hanson Park, McCormick and Locke, as well as community-based early childhood projects. The project would add new space as well as renovate and rehab existing facilities that will create some 280 slots to early childhood programs that currently serve 380 students.
  $7.7 million to purchase state-of-the-art digital security camera systems at 14 high schools serving 16,000 students and related security equipment throughout the district to enhance school safety and security.
  $3.9 million to replace non-functioning equipment in school kitchens across the city to support health and nutrition programs.

New construction and facility expansion identified in the capital plan include:

  Jones College Prep – $96 million for a new high school campus to be built with Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds that will serve 1,200 students. Pending TIF grant agreement and City Council approval.
  Southeast Area Elementary School – $45 million, partially funded by TIF funds, to construct a new school that will serve 1,200 students and helps meet the area’s demographic needs for additional classroom space. Pending TIF grant agreement and City Council approval.
  Edison Park – $15 million to relieve overcrowding. The current building is more than 40 percent overenrolled with 428 students and no additional capacity at neighboring schools to provide relief.
  Hale – $15 million to relieve overcrowding. The current building is more than 60 percent overenrolled with 864 students and no additional capacity at neighboring schools to provide relief.
  Bell – $10 million for an annex to be constructed with state funds. The school serves nearly 1,000 students in three programs – neighborhood, gifted and hearing impaired – and needs additional space.

The plan also includes projects at an additional thirty-six schools that vary in size and scope, such as roof replacement, painting, dining room expansion, elevator and locker, installation, lighting upgrades and playlots.