Mayor Rahm Emanuel today unveiled new annexes designed to address overcrowding at two CPS schools, Wildwood World Magnet School and Abraham Lincoln Elementary School. Following input from the communities, these annexes have been designed to both expand and update existing space in order maximize teaching and learning for students beginning this school year.
“We have a responsibility to our students to provide them with the resources of a 21st century education,” said Mayor Emanuel. “After many years of our school leaders and communities finding creative solutions to overcrowding, these investments expand school facilities so that students will not have to choose between a library or a lunchroom, and will therefore be better able to concentrate on their studies.”
The $14.4 million annex project at Wildwood includes a 34,000 square foot, three-story addition to the school, including: 12 classrooms; a computer lab; art room; library; administrative suite and lunchroom. The $20 million addition to Lincoln includes 19 new classrooms, modernized cafeteria and kitchen, a rooftop play lot, ADA accommodations and other improvements to existing facilities. Both projects were announced in 2014, and completed by the Public Building Commission (PBC) this summer.
“Despite our challenging financial situation, it is crucial for the District to continue investing in resources that will allow our students to reach their potential,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “The annexes at Lincoln and Wildwood Elementary Schools have created much-needed additional space, allowing our teachers to innovate while providing students with the space and resources they need to be successful.”
Mayor Emanuel was joined by CPS leadership, elected officials at both Lincoln Elementary School in Lincoln Park and Wildwood in the Forest Glen community for ribbon cuttings ceremonies to unveil these projects to their respective communities. These schools were previously operating at more than 130 percent or more above the recommended operating capacity. These improvements will allow for a better learning environment for our children to focus and excel in the classroom.
“The hard work and care put into this wonderful new addition to Wildwood are obvious, and I extend my thanks and congratulations to the staff, parents and volunteers for their investment in our city’s children,” said State Senator Ira I. Silverstein, D-Chicago, 8th District. “Their energies will result in student enthusiasm and learning, and I am proud to recognize these achievements for Wildwood’s future.”
Under the leadership of Mayor Emanuel, CPS has made critical investments to expand high-quality school options and to eliminate overcrowding for students across the city. Mayor Emanuel and CPS have also completed a $15.7 million addition at Oriole Park Elementary School, which installed 15 additional classrooms, a lunchroom, library, computer lab, science lab, and an administrative suite. Oriole Park, located in the Norwood Park community, has also received renovations to transform an existing administrative suite into a classroom and the existing lunchroom into an art room for immediate use this school year.
“A vital part of a quality education is making sure our students are equipped with the means and tools to succeed. Reducing overcrowding at Wildwood will help ensure these students are given the individual attention and focus they need to live up to their full potential,” said State Rep. John C. D’Amico, D-Chicago. “I’m privileged to have been able to see this development from start to finish. We need to continue to support our students, so we enable them to learn and grow in and out of the classroom to achieve their dreams.”
Built by Public Building Commission (PBC) on behalf of Chicago Public Schools (CPS), these projects incorporate the Commission’s commitment to economic sustainability, and the commitment to employing residents of the community for these projects. Contract provisions on PBC projects require that at least 50 percent of the labor force be City of Chicago residents and the participation of both minority and women-owned businesses.
Since taking office in 2011, Mayor Emanuel and CPS have addressed overcrowding at 36 local schools, including Addams, Bell, Columbia Explorers, Dever, Dirksen, Durkin Park, Edison Park, Gallistel, Hale, Lincoln, Little Village, Lock, Onahan, Pasteur, Peck, South Loop, Smyser and Stevenson. Mayor Emanuel and CPS will again address overcrowding with projects in the works at Canty, Edwards and Jamieson.