(Chicago) – Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett two elementary opened new annexes after winter break to alleviate overcrowding at schools that were ranked as the 14th and 16th most overcrowded, non-charter schools.
The Mayor attended a ribbon cutting at Hale Elementary School with parents, students, and teachers.
Before the annex, Hale’s permanent space utilization was 161 percent with 872 students when it was only built for 540. Earlier this school year, Hale was using modular units, but the school was still overcrowded at 116 percent.
The new annex will allow the school to remove the modular units and accommodate all current students.
The new annex provides three floors of classrooms and one computer lab, one resource room, an administrative room, a library, gymnasium and auditorium. The annex cost of $15 million was paid out of CPS construction funds.
“Lack of space makes the work of being a principal a continual exercise in lose-lose dilemmas – do they choose having a library or lunchroom; an auditorium or an algebra class?” CEO Byrd-Bennett said. “We didn’t settle for time constraints on our children’s education, which is why we fought for and won a full school day, so we shouldn’t settle for space constraints either.”
The Mayor also attended a ribbon cutting at Edison Park Elementary School, which had a utilization rate of 157 percent and was built to accommodate 300 students and currently has 469 students.
The new annex will allow the school to accommodate 570 students including all current students in the school building and the planned growth in attendance.
The school was previously a regional gifted school but due to neighborhood demand, CPS moved the gifted program and started a neighborhood school at the building.
The new two-story annex includes 14 classrooms, one science lab, one resource room, an administrative room, a library and a gymnasium. The project cost almost $14 million out of CPS capital construction funds.
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