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Lincoln Elementary Annex Plans, Construction Timeline Detailed

By Paul Biasco | April 21, 2014 8:20am
 Plans for the Lincoln Elementary annex
Lincoln Elementary Annex
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LINCOLN PARK — The planned three-story addition to Lincoln Elementary School will feature 17 new classrooms, a large lunchroom with a full kitchen, two music/band rooms a computer lab and a rooftop playground.

The annex, set to be ready for the start of the 2015-16 school year, will move kids out of coat closets and boiler rooms and into new classrooms, Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) said last week as the city's Public Building Commission unveiled detailed plans for Lincoln Elementary School.

The rooftop playground will be needed for recess and outdoor activities because the addition is being built on the site of the majority of Lincoln's current outdoor areas.

While the majority of outdoor space for students will be on the roof, the plans will save a roughly 110-by-50 foot area along Kemper Place on the ground floor and install two sets of playground equipment.

Smith held a community meeting with city building officials and architects Thursday to unveil the plans behind the three-story annex.

"Kids are in boiler rooms today. They are going to be coming out of the boiler rooms and coming out of a bunch of classrooms that are frankly not compliant with code," Smith said.

The project has been years in the making and will solve an overcrowding issue that persists at the school.

Currently there currently 821 students enrolled at Lincoln for the 2013-2014 school year, while the school's capacity is listed at 630, according to CPS data. The maximum efficiency is listed at 756 students.

There were 794 students enrolled in the previous school year, according to the school district.

Although the plans have been finalized by the Chicago Public Building Commission, the school is located in the landmarked Mid-North District.

Because of the landmark distinction, the plans must pass the city's Landmark Permit Review Committee on May 1.

"That is very important to me and I directed [the Public Building Commission] that they have to make the landmark committee happy," Smith said.

The architecture firm behind the project is Muller & Muller, Ltd.

The challenge working within the landmark district is to make sure the addition honors the existing building, said Erin Lavin, director of Chicago's Public Building Commission.

"These are beautiful materials, durable materials and materials that echo the historic character of the neighborhood," she said.

Public Building Commission officials said they expect site preparation and foundation construction to begin in June or July and to begin "general construction" around September or October.

The annex will be ready for the 2015-2016 school year, officials said.

Chicago Public Schools is currently leasing six classrooms from DePaul University to alleviate overcrowding at Lincoln Elementary.

The lease was a one-year deal and CPS, Lincoln administrators and Smith have been working to extend the lease for the 2014-2015 school year during construction.

"We should hope to have an answer soon about that," Smith said.

She said negotiators are "still trying to iron some things out.

"Rest assured the kids will have a good safe place to go to school next year," Smith said.