Mayor Emanuel Announces Completion of Bell Elementary School Addition

Project Provides New Science, Music and Art Rooms

Mayor’s Press Office, (312) 744-3334
Mayor Emanuel visits with students at Bell Elementary School Photo Credit: Brooke E. Collins // City of Chicago

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined parents and staff at Bell Elementary School to announce the completion of the Bell addition that will provide more classroom space to enhance the school’s curriculum and provide greater opportunities at the school in the city’s North Center community.

“This new addition exemplifies how our school modernization strategy invests in providing technology and resources to our students to prepare them to be 100 percent college ready and 100 percent college bound,” Mayor Emanuel said. “With resources like the ones the students at Bell now have, our students will be shaping the future.”

Thanks to this expansion, Bell now has new amenities for its students, including a new science lab, music room and art room. A new multipurpose room and cooking kitchen are also included in the addition. The project also included selected renovations of the existing building in order to upgrade life safety provisions in the auditorium, finishes in the gymnasium, relocation and renovation of the library and the creation of a new nurse’s suite.

The Public Building Commission of Chicago, on behalf of Chicago Public Schools, managed the design, procurement and construction of the $10 million 19,000-square-foot project, which was paid for with state funds. Due to exemplary cost and schedule controls, the project was completed on time and under budget. The PBC will continue with renovation work at the existing school now that the addition is complete and that work, along with exterior site improvements will be completed in June of 2014.

The addition includes environmentally sustainable features, including water use reduction measures, durable materials, and improved natural light and views.

The Alexander Graham Bell School was built in 1917 for the specific purpose of educating deaf and hearing children together and the school has maintained a commitment to this dual-program approach. Over the years, there have been significant changes in the educational methods for teaching hearing impaired students, which now include total communication, an approach using speech and sign language and which is used at Bell. The renovations and work in the addition reflect the needs of the program at Bell and include acoustically appropriate materials that complement and enhance the learning environment.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett are committed to ensuring that students graduate from the City’s high schools, 100 percent college ready and 100 percent college bound. Modernizing our schools and giving parents strong choices for their children’s education is essential to ensuring that we are able to reach that goal. Currently, there is a $3.5 billion deficit in capital improvements to our schools for repair and maintenance alone. Since 2012, CPS has worked to leverage and commit approximately one billion capital dollars to improve access to technology, critical learning resources, and amenities at schools across the District to give children the resources and learning environment they need to excel and thrive in the classroom.