Next Step Is Construction For New Back Of The Yards High School

PBC Board Awards Contract To Construct New High School Through Modern Schools Across Chicago Program.

Mimi Simon, Public Building Commission, (312) 744-9277

At their February board meeting, the Board of Commissioners of the Public Building Commission of Chicago awarded a contract to build a new Back of the Yards High School on the City’s southwest side, located at 2111 W. 47th Street in the New City community.

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 new 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 6 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.

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%.

“We are very proud of the MSAC program.  To date, the PBC has delivered 14 new school and renovation projects with 5 more projects in development,” said Executive Director Erin Lavin Cabonargi. “This program has been implemented with exemplary cost performance. Moreover, the resources expended have brought to bear not only extraordinary facilities, but they have resulted in tremendous social and environmental benefits.  As responsible developers and stewards of the public fund, the PBC implements both environmental and economic sustainability practices in each project we take on.”

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 stormwater 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.

A date for community hiring intake for the new high school will be scheduled in the next few months and will be posted at the construction site.

The Public Building Commission of Chicago manages construction and renovation projects for the City of Chicago and its sister agencies. Mayor Richard M. Daley serves as the PBC’s chairman. Erin Lavin Cabonargi serves as the Executive Director of the PBC. Additional information about the PBC and its projects can be found at

Check out the new PBC video highlighting its environmental sustainability program initiatives at:

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