BRIDGEPORT — Students and faculty in area schools will suffer from the sweltering heat less often thanks to a multi-million dollar upgrade effort by CPS.
According to CPS, about $1.1 million has been budgeted for window air conditioning units in the following Bridgeport and McKinley Park schools by September 2014: Holden Elementary, 1104 W. 31st St.; McClellan Elementary, 3527 S. Wallace Ave.; Ward Elementary, 2701 S. Shields Ave. and Velma Thomas Early Childhood Education Center, 3625 S. Hoyne Ave.
The installation of air conditioning units aren't the only improvements in the district's 2015 proposed capital plan. Schools across the city are set to receive structural improvements, safety upgrades and new playgrounds.
In Bridgeport, Ward Elementary will get a new "double playlot" designed for kids 3-5 years old and 5-12 years old. Budgeted to cost $287,000, the playgrounds will be finished by September 2014.
In McKinley Park, Evergreen Academy Middle School, 3537 S. Paulina St., will get $150,000 worth of new safety upgrades in the form of new security cameras and intercom telephones.
The plan for the air-conditioning was announced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel last month, part of a sweeping overhaul that has a goal of bringing air conditioning to all Chicago Public Schools classrooms within five years.
The projects are expected to begin this summer and build on the 70 schools that got air conditioning last summer, 55 of which were welcoming schools after citywide school closings.
Though schools across the city rejoiced in the news about A/C, the overhaul got a cool reception from the Chicago Teachers Union, which called the move a PR gambit after closing schools and slashing budgets. The union had highlighted the need for air-conditioning in the past, only to be told by the district that it was too expensive.
A complete list of the CPS projects can be seen here.