The $3 million pledge adds modular classrooms to a school that's operating at a 122 percent capacity, according to Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th).
The six additional classrooms will be built on the northwest corner of the school at 10841 S. Homan Ave. The addition is expected to open in time for the 2015-2016 year.
O'Shea and Emanuel met with several parents at the school on Monday. One neighborhood mother said Mount Greenwood School had 475 students when she enrolled her son in preschool.
Her son is now in seventh grade, and the Southwest Side elementary school has 1,060 students. It's capacity is listed at 870 students, O'Shea said.
The modulars are intended to address this rapid growth. But the temporary structures can also be removed — so if the pendulum swings again the school could just as easily be shrunk.
But O'Shea doesn't believe interest in Mount Greenwood's public schools is merely a trend. In fact, he said families are increasingly moving into the area intent on enrolling their children in neighborhood schools.
"Most people would say this [surge] is driven by the economy. That might be the case in some parts of the city, but not in Mount Greenwood," he said, adding that the strong academic reputation of both Mount Greenwood School and the George F. Cassell Fine Arts School is a major factor.
The addition of modulars will boost the number of classrooms from 38 rooms to 44 at Mount Greenwood School. These new classrooms will replace a pair of playgrounds.
A new playground is slated for property on the northeast corner of the school. It will be built near an eight-room addition to Mount Greenwood School that opened in 2011. The $7.9 million permanent structure included a new cafeteria.
Mount Greenwood School Principal Kate Reidy said she'd been working on a plan to ease overcrowding at her school for nearly three years. While excited about the announcement, she expects continued increases in enrollment.
The addition "provides us the assistance we need right now," Reidy said.
A similar modular addition was built last summer at Cassell. That $3.5 million project added eight classrooms and a playground at 11314 S. Spaulding Ave.
Down the road, O'Shea said he'd like to add capacity to the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. The additional classrooms would be used to launch a seventh- and eighth-grade feeder program at the specialty high school at 3857 W. 111th St. in Mount Greenwood.
Potentially, students enrolled at both Mount Greenwood School and Cassell could utilize this program. This would open more room for younger students at the overcrowded elementary schools, O'Shea said.
"Mount Greenwood is growing and that is a good thing. But managing that growth in a way that continues to help our students learn is the essential thing," Emanuel said in a press release.
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