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Last 61 Schools Getting Air Conditioning Installed A Year Ahead of Schedule

By Sam Cholke | August 22, 2016 2:57pm | Updated on August 23, 2016 10:45am
 Four years ago, more than half of CPS schools didn't have air conditioning, but all schools are expected to have air conditioning by 2017.
Four years ago, more than half of CPS schools didn't have air conditioning, but all schools are expected to have air conditioning by 2017.
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DNAinfo/Sam Cholke

SOUTH SHORE — Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools officials said Monday the district would finish installing air conditioning in every school by the end of 2017, a year ahead of schedule.

CPS has included $27 million in its capital budget for 2017 for air conditioning installation, the last in four years of updates for schools across the city that was originally expected to take five years.

"You cannot learn in a boiling classroom or if it's freezing in the winter," said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool at a press conference at Bouchet Math and Science Academy, 7355 S. Jeffery Ave.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said finishing the air conditioning project started in 2013 and originally expected to take until 2018 to finish will make it easier for kids to learn and more comfortable for teachers providing the instruction.

"We want our kids focused on what the teacher has to say, not what the temperature is saying," Emanuel said.

The final $338 capital budget is still subject to the Chicago Board of Education's approval at its next meeting on Wednesday.

Claypool said the operating budget, also expected to be approved on Wednesday, does not rob from the capital budget to cover expenses and the capital money will be used to make school improvements.

In 2013, CPS announced a plan with Emanuel to spend $20 million a year over five years to install air conditioning in all public school buildings. At the time, 235 schools — more than half of all CPS schools — did not have air conditioning.

The 2017 installations are expected to complete the remaining schools that currently unable to cool the building during the warmest months of the year.

CPS has consistently said over the past two years that it is ahead of schedule and initially expected to install air in 35 schools over this summer, leaving 65 to complete with the funding from the 2017 capital budget. But the estimate is now 61 schools as the school system tries to complete the five-year project in four years.

The capital budget for 2017 is projected to be $338 million and air conditioning is a quarter of the section of the budget earmarked for technology and programmatic improvements to schools and is the second largest project in this section of the budget.

CPS is proposing spending $51 million of its technology budget to upgrade Internet speeds in schools.

Two South Side schools will also get substantial upgrades through the capital budget.

Dyett High School, which will reopen for the 2016-17 school year, will get a $14 million renovation to convert the school into an arts school.

An estimated $4.4 million will be invested Dunbar High School to build new labs, purchase equipment and other improvements ahead of the school’s new curriculum on building and construction trades starting in the 2016-17 school year.

The final 61 schools expected to get air conditioning installed include:

Amundsen High School

Kilmer Elementary School

Richards High School

Bennett Elementary School

King Elementary School

Roosevelt High School

Bogan High School

Lake View High School

Ruggles Elementary School

Bouchet Elementary School

LaSalle II Elementary School

Shoop Elementary School

Chicago Tech Academy

Lincoln Park High School

Stagg Elementary School

Clark, G Elementary School

Lovett Elementary School

Suder Elementary School

Cook Elementary School

Lowell Elementary School

Sullivan High School

Cooper Elementary School

Madison Elementary School

Sumner Elementary School

Crown Elementary School

Manley High School

Tanner Elementary School

Darwin Elementary School

Mann Elementary School

Tilden High School

Dunbar High School

Marshall High School

Till Elementary School

DuSable Campus

Mason Elementary School

University of Chicago Charter - Donoghue

Epic Charter High School

North Lawndale Charter - Christiana

University of Chicago Charter - Woodlawn

Field Elementary School

Parkside Elementary School

University of Chicago Charter - Woodson

Foreman High School

Peace & Education High School

Urban Prep Charter - West

Gage Park High School

Perez Elementary School

Warren Elementary School

Gale Elementary School

Perspectives Charter - IIT

Wells High School

Graham Elementary School

Perspectives Charter - Leadership Academy

Whistler Elementary School

Harlan High School

Phillips High School

Yates Elementary School

Hirsch High School

Phoenix Military High School

Kelly High School

Piccolo Elementary School

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