Hitch, Prussing set to receive mobile classroom units
by BRIAN NADIG
Hitch and Prussing schools will be receiving mobile classroom units to help relieve overcrowding, according to Alderman John Arena (45th).
“It’s good news for our schools, and the advocacy we’ve been doing with CPS is paying off,” Arena said. Plans call for the modular units to be in place by September of 2015.
Prussing is ranked as the 18th most overcrowded school in the city, as it has 687 students in a school that was built for 420, according to the Chicago Board of Education’s 2015 Capital Plan report that was recently released. The planned modular unit will cost $2.1 million and have six classrooms, and in 2018, Prussing is scheduled to receive an additional $7.4 million in capital improvements as part of an exterior renovation project.
Hitch has 586 students in a school that was built for 420, and the eight classrooms in the new modular unit should “fully address Hitch’s current overcrowding situation for the next 3-5 years,” the plan states. The cost of the project is $3.7 million.
Volunteers who were concerned about overcrowding at Hitch formed an advocacy group which had worked with former principal Debby Reese, who died earlier this year. Reese said last summer that the space crunch would not improve anytime soon because several of the lower grades have the most students.
Also on the Northwest Side, Canty School will be receiving an $18 million annex under the capital plan. Canty has a utilization rate of 150 percent, which is tied for 18th among all neighborhood schools, and many of the schools higher on the list already had been committed capacity relief, according to the capital report.
“Classrooms are spread out over several mobile buildings, storage units and leased spaces, and students eat lunches in the school’s auditorium,” the report said of Canty’s conditions. “The school is using coolers in hallways to refrigerate food because lunch periods run over several hours.”
In addition, Farnsworth, Garvy and Norwood Park schools will each receive $150,000 worth of security cameras, while Belding, Bridge, Haugan, Onahan and Smyser are receiving air-conditioning improvements. Also, Ebinger will be undergoing noise abatement, Scammon will get a new roof, new labs will be built at Onahan, and playlot enhancements are planned for Smyser.