GARFIELD RIDGE — A massive new annex coming to Byrne Elementary will help alleviate overcrowding and elevate the school's amenities for students, officials said Friday.
Crews have broken ground on the annex that will bring 16 new classrooms including a science lab, music room, library and a large multipurpose room to Byrne Elementary, 5329 S. Oak Park Ave.
Like other high-performing neighborhood schools, Byrne has seen higher enrollment and therefore a need for expanded facilities, officials said at a groundbreaking Friday.
"This school was busting at the seams," said Ald. Mike Zalewski (23rd), who helped bring mobile units to the school in 1997 when overcrowding issues first surfaced. "We realized it was time to replace those units."
Not only will the new facility add much needed space at the school, it will also aid students' education, officials said, especially with the inclusion of the a new library and science lab.
"It provides a home for much needed space for our students and our staff to flourish," Principal Elizabeth Gallo said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Mike Zalewski (23rd) inspect the expansion of Byrne Elementary in Garfield Ridge. [DNAinfo/Joe Ward]
Student Eliot Gierat said he's excited that his gym class will not get canceled for school assemblies and that his music classes will be less claustrophobic.
"Thanks to this new space, I won't have to dodge trombones and guitars," Eliot said. "I'm happy I'll have more space than my [older] siblings."
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the state education funding deal approved this year means CPS principals won't have to worry about cutting their school's budget midyear. Coupled with investment in school facilities, neighborhood schools are in position to excel.
"Year after year, Byrne students achieve record academic gains, and we owe it to them to remove any barriers to academic success," Emanuel said. "This annex provides students and teachers with the extra space and facilities necessary to obtain a 21st century education."