CPS Breaks Ground on First LEED-Certified School

Tarkington Elementary to Serve Southwest Side

Eve Hyatt, CPS Office of Communications, 773-553-1620,
Electronic Photo Rendering available upon request

Citing the project as “groundbreaking in more ways than one,” Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan led a group of city and CPS officials in breaking ground Wednesday for Tarkington Elementary School, scheduled for completion in the fall of 2005.

Tarkington, 3330 W. 71st St., will be the first school in Chicago to be a certified “green” school by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating system. In addition to guidelines about recycling and waste management on the site, LEED has an extensive list of requirements to certify a building, including:

  • Reflective roofing to reflect solar energy and cool the building in hot weather
  • A plumbing system that uses 30 percent less water than the baseline calculated for the building
  • No refrigerants which deplete the ozone layer
  • 50 percent of the building’s electricity provided by renewable sources

The building also features the following:

  • Roof and site storm water run off will feed into the adjacent lagoon. This will reduce the load on municipal sewers.
  • The vegetative roof surfaces will capture rain water and return a portion back to the atmosphere. It also lowers the roof temperature to conserve energy.

“In addition to being a beautiful school, the building itself provides us with an extraordinary opportunity to teach our students about resources and energy,” Duncan said. “We didn’t have to sacrifice quality for the sake of environmental friendliness.”

The school will house approximately 1,000 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, including 27 standard academic classrooms, six kindergarten classrooms, four special education classrooms and a science classroom. It also will have an art room, music room, learning resource center, multi-purpose room, and gymnasium shared with the Chicago Park District. The building will have a state-of-the-art computer network, be fully air-conditioned and accessible to people with disabilities, and will have a parking lot with 110 parking spaces.

OWP/P Architects is the managing design architect, with Warman Olsen Warman the architect of record. The Public Building Commission will manage construction.

“Through continuing to strengthen our partnerships with sister city agencies we perpetuate the improvements of services offered to our citizens,” said Chicago Park District Southwest Region Manager Matt Marino. “We excited to partner with Chicago public schools to bring a new school to the children of the Marquette Park neighborhood.

Since 1995, CPS’ Capital Improvement Program under the direction of Mayor Richard M. Daley has invested more than $4 billion in new construction and renovations for CPS students. The program has built 36 new schools, 45 new additions and 27 new annexes, adding more than 1,400 new classrooms. This new construction has provided additional capacity for more than 40,000 students.

The Chicago Public Schools is the nation’s third-largest school district and the second-largest employer in Illinois, with more than 46,000 employees. The school system operates 600 schools and serves 434,000 students.