HUMBOLDT PARK — Two years after the city closed Von Humboldt and Duprey elementary schools, Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) is calling for a new school, housing for teachers and a possible community center in the same building.
The area surrounding the closed schools is still in need of a public option, Moreno said Wednesday. In fact, the population around the large building that formerly housed the schools at 2620 W. Hirsch St. is growing — and there is currently no public school between Western and California avenues and North and Chicago avenues.
“I didn’t fight hard for a school just to lose and give up. Just because we lost the fight doesn’t mean we don’t still need a neighborhood school here,” Moreno said. “This is in a very dense area where people are wanting to move and live right now. They’re going to want to live here and we want to provide them with a public school option.”
Nearby Erie Elementary Charter School is currently at max capacity with a substantial waiting list, he added.
“What we’d like is a mixture of teacher housing, a community center and a small elementary school,” the alderman said. “That’s what we’re going to be pushing very hard for.”
If approved, the 150,000-square-foot building put up for sale by CPS last week could become a mixed-use facility, in partnership with local entities and national such as the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, Teach for America and the Chicago Teachers Union — though the plan is in “the very beginning stages,” Moreno said.
“We think there’s a case we can make for why there needs to be a small neighborhood elementary school there — Moos Elementary School is filling up and I don’t want to wake up in 4-6 years and say, 'Oh my god, we're overcrowded here.'”
A repurposing report from CPS makes no mention of a new school at the Humboldt Park facility but lists the site as a "good candidate" for repurposing.
Proposals for the mixed-use project could be presented to CPS as early as this summer.
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