School and City officials, along with various community groups, officially broke ground today on a new $34 million high school aimed at relieving overcrowding at Kelvyn Park High School.
The new high school will house approximately 800 students and will feature 27 classrooms; science, computer, and culinary arts laboratories; a 548-seat auditorium; a library/media center; a soccer field; swimming pool; and outdoor basketball courts.
“This community has waited a long time for overcrowding relief, and we are extremely pleased to re-affirm our commitment to this high school,” said Arne Duncan, CPS Chief Executive Officer. “Kelvyn Park was built to accommodate 1,200 students yet its current enrollment tops 2,000. It is not fair to expect our students to thrive academically under those circumstances.”
Construction, which is overseen by the Public Building Commission (PBC), began in February. The school is scheduled to open at the start of the 2004 school year.
“This is another example of a successful collaboration between the PBC and the Chicago Public Schools,” stated PBC Executive Director Kevin Gujral. “CPS managed the design of the school and will develop its academic focus, while the PBC – under the leadership of Mayor Daley as its chairman – is managing the construction process.”
31st Ward Alderman Ray Suarez and State Rep. William Delgado (D-3), along with Kelvyn Park Principal Sandra Fontanez-Phelan, and a host of community leaders said that the growing Northwest Side community eagerly welcomes the new high school. State Senator Miguel Del Valle was unable to attend, but was instrumental in the construction of the new school.
Duncan said that Kelvyn Park is just one of several major high school construction and renovation projects underway as part of CPS’ ongoing capital program, which has so far totaled some $3.6 billion.
“Our high school capital needs are great, but so is the progress that we are making,” said Duncan, highlighting the opening of the new Simeon High School this fall, and upcoming groundbreakings for a new Little Village High School and a new Westinghouse High School. There is also ongoing reconstruction and renovations at Gwendolyn Brooks, Juarez High School and Jones College Prep.
Since 1996, the CPS has added classroom space for almost 38,000 students system wide, resulting in 21 new schools, 8 replacement schools, 34 additions, 27 annexes, 2,094 renovations, 58 state-of-the-art science labs, 100 campus parks, 16 athletic fields and 288 play lots.
The Chicago Public Schools is the nation’s third-largest school district and the second-largest employer in Illinois, with more than 45,000 employees. The school system operates 600 schools and serves 437,000 students.