The Public Building Commission has enjoyed a long-standing association with the Chicago Public Schools, with the PBC designing and building new educational facilities, creating additions and annexes, and making renovations to existing buildings. The PBC manages millions of dollars of work for the Chicago Public Schools’ Development Program and has been instrumental in the “Modern Schools Across Chicago” initiative, a $1 billion dollar plan to bring brand new schools to Chicago’s communities.
Under “Modern Schools Across Chicago,” the PBC and the Chicago Public Schools have planned new high schools, middle schools and elementary schools, as well as substantial renovations to some buildings. Many of the high schools will use a prototype design in which the schools will have a gymnasium and indoor pool, with those facilities available to the public during non-school hours.
Examples of the working relationship between the PBC and the Schools include construction of Tarkington School, the first Chicago Public School to be recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building, and the rehabilitation of the historic Bronzeville Eighth Regiment Armory, which now houses the Chicago Military Academy at Bronzeville while also occupying a place on the National Register of Historic Places.
Recognizing that education is more important than ever, the Public Building Commission is committed to incorporating new features into the buildings to make them safer, stronger, more technologically adaptable and more environmentally friendly. Such features include virtually indestructible block walls, green roofs, programmable HVAC systems, wiring for voice and data transmissions, low emission building materials and security cameras that can be linked to the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications. Further, the designs for all new schools include features that qualify the building for certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.