Public Building Commission Celebrates Opening of New Westinghouse High School, Four Other New Facilities

Kevin Smith, Public Building Commission, (312) 744-9277

The new Westinghouse High School, located at 3223 W. Franklin Blvd., was one of five brand new schools to open today, the first day of school for Chicago Public School students. Each of the five schools will bring students and faculty advanced technology, fresh energy and a healthy environment in which to learn and grow.

Westinghouse was selected as the site where Mayor Richard M. Daley, Board of Education President Michael Scott and Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman celebrated the start of school as marked by the ringing of the bell.

Beyond Westinghouse, other new school buildings opening today are:

  • Irene C. Hernandez Middle School for the Advancement of the Sciences, 3510 W. 55th St.
  • Langston Hughes Elementary School, 240 W.104th St.
  • Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy, 2231 N. Central Ave.
  • Mark T. Skinner West Elementary School Classical, Fine Arts Technology, 1260 W. Adams St.

Each of these schools is part of a larger innovative funding strategy and capital development program termed Modern Schools Across Chicago that utilizes both TIF (Tax Increment Financing) and CPS Bond Revenues.

The new Westinghouse High School, which will operate as both a selective enrollment high school and as a Career Academy, has 240,000 square feet and was designed to hold 1,200 students. Its features include 27 academic classrooms, four computer labs, six science labs, a library/media resource center, a gymnasium, a six-lane pool, a dance studio/wrestling room, a 500-seat auditorium, a sports venue for track & field, football, soccer, rugby and lacrosse with bleacher space for 1,200, and classrooms devoted to the performing and visual arts. The Career Academies include the Medical Academy, the Business Academy, the Information Technology Academy and the Broadcast and Film Academy.

The new school is designed to achieve “Silver” level certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Sustainable design features of the building include an aggressive stormwater management plan, reflective materials in the roof and site that minimize the heat island effect, plumbing fixtures that reduce water use, a high-efficiency heating/cooling system, solar panels that pre-heat water for additional energy savings and the use of recycled construction materials throughout the facility.

Beyond a commitment to environmental sustainability, the PBC has a commitment to economic sustainability that benefits the community. The Westinghouse High School contract included provisions for economic sustainability, with Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises playing a key role in the project. The contract also included a provision that required Chicago residents work a minimum number of hours on the project, and a separate provision that mandated community residents work a minimum number of hours as well.

The Westinghouse project had an MBE commitment of 42.0 percent, or some $35.1 million, while the WBE commitment was 5.35 percent, or $4.47 million. Of the 83 different companies that served as contractors or vendors on the Westinghouse project, 15 were certified MBE companies and seven were certified WBE companies.

A minimum of 50 percent of the hours worked on the project are required to be performed by Chicago residents. Further, while the contract required that five percent, or 15,110, of the hours be worked by community residents, to date more than 16,900 such hours have been logged on the project, exceeding the minimum level by 12 percent and giving 24 community residents an opportunity to contribute to the construction of a new facility in their own neighborhood.

The PBC manages construction and renovation projects for the City of Chicago and its other sister agencies. Mayor Richard M. Daley serves as the PBC’s chairman. Additional information about the PBC and its projects is available at the agency’s Web site:

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