A new teacher training center, a major addition to the military academy in Bronzeville and a new senior center opened in 2002 as Mayor Richard M. Daley pursued a citywide infrastructure rebirth, bringing new police and fire stations and a variety of neighborhood improvements.
“These new schools, police stations and other neighborhood improvements are part of a revitalization of Chicago,” Daley said. “They are investments in the future and the people of a vital world-class city.”
Daley opened the 2002-2003 school year in September by ringing the bell at the new National Teachers Academy of Chicago, at 23rd and Federal streets. This on-the-job academy is a community elementary school where college students will learn to teach under the guidance of master teachers from the Chicago Public Schools. The Academy was built by the Public Building Commission of Chicago (PBC), which currently manages about $160 million of the school system’s development program.
The mayor also was on hand for the fall opening of a $16 million annex to the Chicago Military Academy, at 35th Street and Giles Avenue. The PBC built the annex, adding 15 new classrooms to the high school, as part of a cooperative effort by the PBC, the school and the community.
The PBC and the Chicago Fire Department broke ground in June on the new Engine Company 63 fire station, at 67th Street and Blackstone Avenue, the first of nine new fire stations to be built under Daley’s Neighborhoods Alive 21 program. Construction by UBM Inc., an African-American-owned firm, is due to be completed next year. The upgraded station will replace Engine 63’s existing quarters on 62nd Place that dates back to 1929.
Mayor Daley and Police Superintendent Terry Hillard dedicated the new 20th District police station in October. The $14.5 million state-of-the-art police station, at 5400 North Lincoln Avenue, was built by the PBC to replace the old Foster District station, which dated to 1936.
The new 43,000-square-foot facility is four times the size of the old station, with a computerized command center, a community meeting room and updated locker room facilities for both male and female officers. This is the fifth new station built in the last four years under the mayor’s Neighborhoods Alive 21 program.
Millennium Park opened more landscaped acreage this year, and work was completed on its unique Peristyle, a beautiful recreation of a Greek-column structure that graced Grant Park from 1917 to 1953. An ornate fountain also was added as part of the park’s Wrigley Square area.
Summer brought completion of the $35 million Grant Park South Garage reconstruction. The 40-year-old Grant Park South Garage structure reopened with 1,300 parking spaces—including 27 dedicated spots for people with disabilities—as a vastly improved facility. It features extensive lighting upgrades, 24-hour security and parking escorts, as well as convenient pay stations, credit card machines and monthly keycard access.
The West Town/Logan Square Senior Satellite Center opened in October in a newly renovated first floor of the Goldblatt’s building, at 1613 West Chicago. The $528,000 facility is the first of 10 senior centers to be built by the PBC under a $20 million program called “Neighborhoods Alive with Seniors!”