Mayor Daley Breaks Ground On New Back of the Yards High School

Thanks Residents of Southwest Side Communities for Their Help Thanks Residents of Southwest Side Communities for Their Help

Mayor’s Press Office (312) 744-3334


Mayor Richard M. Daley, Alderman Cardenas and other community representatives today participated in a ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Back of the Yards High School located at 2111 W. 47th Street in the New City community on the City’s southwest side.


“These groundbreakings reflect our ongoing commitment to build and improve schools all across Chicago,” said Mayor Richard M. Daley. “Our goal is to make every neighborhood school a high quality school that a parent wants to send their child to because it offers our students a great opportunity for a solid education.”


The planning, design and construction of the new high school is being managed by the PBC on behalf of the Chicago Public Schools. Construction is scheduled to begin in Summer 2011 and the new school is projected to be complete and open for students in Fall 2013.


The school implements the new Urban Model High School prototype developed by the PBC on behalf of the Chicago Public Schools. The prototype design features steel frame and masonry construction and accommodates at least 1,200 students.


Along with standard classroom space, the facility will include amenities such as computer labs, science labs, visual arts classrooms, performing arts classrooms, distance learning lab, college resource center, library/media resource center, gymnasium, natatorium with six-lane pool, fitness/weight room, administrative suite, nurse and student support service, kitchen and dining facilities and a state-of-the-art computer network.


Exterior amenities include a combination football and soccer field, a softball field, tennis courts, a reading garden area and a nature garden.


One key feature of this prototype design is the provision for community use on evenings and weekends. The school features separate, independent entrances for both the library and the athletic wing as well as dedicated storage and spaces for the Chicago Park District.


This project is funded through the Modern Schools Across Chicago (MSAC) initiative, an innovative program financed through a combination of Chicago Public School bonds and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds. To date, 19 new, new schools and renovations have been completed or are in development by the Public Building Commission. The MSAC projects developed by the PBC have a current projected surplus of $109 million, or 10.13%.


Like all PBC projects, the school is designed to achieve a minimum Silver rating under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Sustainable design features include a combination green and reflective roof, aggressive storm-water management, native and adaptive landscape species, automatic, low-flow plumbing features and lighting sensor and daylight harvesting.


All PBC projects implement economic sustainability initiatives like bid incentives for the employment of apprentices, and minority and female workers; community hiring and resident workforce requirements; and contract provisions that require minority- and women-owned business participation and local business participation.


As a result of the 19 MSAC projects completed or in development, an anticipated 3,200 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs have been created and 264 community hires have worked to date. And, of the total construction contracts awarded to date, nearly 36% has been committed to M/WBE participation and, to date, nearly 42% has been paid to minority-owned and women-owned businesses.


This Back of the Yards project is just one of the investments we have made to make Back of the Yards a better, stronger community.


Today I want to thank the residents of the 12th Ward for their help in moving the City forward and highlight some of the things we have accomplished together.

  • In addition to the new Back of the Yards High School, there are 10 schools in the 12

    th Ward. One new construction school, which opened in September 2010 under the Modern Schools Across Chicago initiative and one charter school which is a Renaissance 2010 school that opened last Fall. 

  • The City has also used more than $34 million in Tax Increment Financing funds to support important infrastructure and economic development projects in the ward, including:


    • Facility expansion and modernization at Wheatland Tube at 2300 W. 47

      th Street, the Chicago area’s largest processor of electrical conduit and galvanized metal tubing. The project retained/created more than 200 jobs. 

    • The City conveyed the land at a reduced cost to help create Chicago Indoor Soccer field at 3900 S. Ashland in 2008.


  • In 1998, the Back of the Yards library Branch opened in retail space at the Yards Plaza Shopping Mall replacing a smaller storefront facility. The space includes a community room with seating for 50 as well as the usual library offerings of free Internet access, free WiFi, and more than 30,000 books, audio-books, newspapers, magazines and education media. The branch also has a large Spanish language collection.


  • The Department of Family and Support Services has assisted various programs in the community including:


    • Awarding a $288,716 grant to St. Joseph’s Early Childhood Center for expansion and renovation.


    • Support of St. Anthony’s Hospital’s School at Work program.


    • The Paulo Freire family center received a $2 million City grant to build a new family resource center.


  • Through the New Homes for Chicago program, vacant lots have been converted into affordable new single-family and two-flat homes in the Back of the Yards, New City, Brighton Park and Little Village neighborhoods, creating nearly 100 units of affordable housing: New City Homes with 39 units, Back of the Yards New Homes with 19 units and Boulevard Homes with 41 units.


  • Senior Suites of New City at 4845 S. Western Blvd. created 110 units of senior housing and is an example of positive neighborhood revitalization that can occur when the City’s affordable housing efforts are matched with support from the private sector.


  • As part of our bold Plan for Transformation the Lawndale Gardens has seen a profound change over the years.


    • Under the Plan, all 125 units at the 6.5 acre development are completely renovated with upgraded kitchen cabinets, new appliances, bathroom fixtures and air conditioning systems.


    • Today the 12th Ward contains 52 units of scattered site, public housing for low-income Chicagoans.


  • The Chicago Park District has carried out significant capital improvements at Davis Square Park including a new playground in 1991; rehabilitation of the pool in 1999; development of an artificial turf athletic field in a former tennis court in 2001; and major rehab of the field house in 2004. Douglas Park also saw several capital improvements such as rehabilitation of the pool in 1992; the field house in 1998; and new artificial turf athletic field in 2004.


  • The City recently completed land use survey of the Western/Ogden, Stevenson, Pilsen and Stockyards industrial corridors, to ensure the ward’s blue collar industries remain a vital part of its business diversity.


  • There was a $482.6 million renovation of the Cermak (Douglas) Branch of the Blue Line, now the Pink Line, completed in 2004. Riders were provided eight newly renovated, fully accessible stations, a faster, smoother ride and weekend service. Structure work included replacing five miles of track, rail ties and foot walks and the support structure and installed a new signal communications system.


  • The City of Chicago invested $410 million to build the Orange Line which opened in 1993. The line is comprised of nearly 10 miles of double track and eight fully accessible stations providing a direct connection to Midway Airport and rapid transit service for residents of the Southwest Side as well as travelers.


  • Police and community partnerships have thrived in the 12

    th Ward because of several ongoing initiatives with residents, with a focus on young people. For example: 

    • Six block clubs and one neighborhood watch group have been created.


    • An active Parent Patrol Program at Kelly High School and Shields, Burroughs and Calmeca Elementary schools.


    • D.A.R.E., G.R.E.A.T., and Officer Friendly programs in local elementary schools —encourage youth to stay in school and out of trouble.


    • The City Sports initiative keeps young people not only safe and off of the streets but involved with positive role models.


    • Chicago Anti-Gang Initiative has placed gang officers throughout the 12

      th ward. 

    • Partnership with Fr. Bruno and Health Alternative Systems.


    • The strategic placement of POD cameras throughout the area have accounted for numerous arrests of gang members making it safer for residents.



“So I’m here today to thank everyone in the 12th ward for their advice, support and cooperation,” said Mayor Daley. “Working together we’ve brought Chicago into the 21st century, and given it a bright future. It’s been a joy and an honor to be your Mayor.”