NORTH CENTER — Coonley Elementary's $16.5 million addition — which passed the city's finance committee Tuesday — has been placed on an accelerated construction schedule, resulting in a "little near-term pain" for neighbors, according to Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th).
In order to have the addition ready for occupancy in fall 2014, construction crews are "going to be working in the early morning and on weekends," said Pawar.
Equipment staging could begin as early as 7 a.m., he said.
"What we want people to be aware of is it will start earlier, unlike other city projects," said Pawar. "It is going to be slightly painful."
The primary motivation behind shortening the addition's timeline — initial projections had the addition opening in January 2015 — was to keep Coonley's students in one building, rather than shipping students from lower grades to other locations during construction.
"The good problem we have in our community — all of our schools are well enrolled. It's not like other schools have additional capacity," said Pawar. "We didn't want to send parents all over the North Side."
Though ground has officially broken on the addition, the beginning of actual work depends on the weather, he said.
The Public Building Commission is overseeing the project.
Coonley, 4046 N. Leavitt St., has experienced an influx of students in recent years. Though the school currently has just one seventh-grade and one eighth-grade class, lower grades have three or four classes each. Coonley's existing building only has 22 classrooms.
The three-story annex — funded with Tax Increment Financing dollars — will contain 12 classrooms, a kitchen and multipurpose room.