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Mayor Richard M. Daley today cut the ceremonial ribbon dedicating the new Eric Solorio Academy High School, the eighth of the new “Modern Schools Across Chicago” that Chicago Public Schools has opened in the last two years. Three more such schools will open Tuesday, September 7, the first day of classes for Chicago Public Schools on a traditional calendar.
“If we are to build a stronger Chicago and if every student is to be able to achieve success in life, we must continue to improve each and every school in Chicago,” Daley said in ceremonies held at the school, 5400 S. St. Louis Av.
“And we must pay special attention to improving our neighborhood schools and our high schools, as we are here with this beautiful facility that opens next Tuesday with its freshman class,” he said.
The school is named for Chicago Police Officer Eric Solorio, who was killed in an accident while on duty in 2006.
Daley said a new building such as Solorio is one of greatest tools we can give our students and our educators to help them achieve the highest levels possible.
The school was developed to address enrollment challenges caused by the rapid growth in student population on the Southwest Side.
When it opens next week, it will complete a “linear” campus along St. Louis Avenue that includes the K through 5 Sandoval School across 55th Street and the 6th through 8th grade Hernandez School for the Advancement of the Sciences, which opened a year ago.
“This campus is an exciting development for our city and the school community on the Southwest Side, where students can move through their CPS careers within a three-block area in state-of-the-art facilities,” the Mayor said.
Solorio contains more than 200,000 square feet and includes science, computer, visual and performing arts classrooms, as well as a library, a gymnasium, a swimming pool and playing fields and tennis courts. It is designed for community use on evenings and weekends, with independent entrances for both the library and the athletic wing.
The building, which cost about $97 million, is targeted to achieve “Silver” level certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design schools’ rating system, and includes a green roof covering 40 percent of the building.
“Most important, it’s a neighborhood school. In addition to the improved learning environment, it provides a new anchor for the Gage Park community,” Daley said.
“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,” he said.
Daley praised Officer Solorio, who grew up in the Back of the Yards neighborhood and said naming the building after Solorio is important for several reasons.
“It will keep alive the memory of Eric Solorio – the man, the police officer, the public servant. When young people come into this building, Eric’s name will remind them not only of his contributions to our city, but of their own potential and their responsibility to fulfill it,” Daley said.
“And his name will remind them of the importance of giving back to the community after their time in the public schools has been completed,” he said.
“Eric Solorio Academy High School is a great addition to the Gage Park community and it shows that working together, we will take our schools to a new level of success,” he said.