Taft LSC discusses need for new gym AC unit, moving prom


The need for air-conditioning in the main gymnasium and the relocation of senior prom from Downtown Chicago to the Village of Rosemont were discussed at the Dec. 12 meeting of the Taft High School Local School Council.

Principal Mark Grishaber reported that the lack of an air-conditioning unit, including a fan system to better circulate air inside the gym, leads to the build up of condensation on the floor. "It’s always been dangerous (for students)," he said. The estimated cost to install the air-conditioning is $92,000.

Grishaber said that he had talked to Alderman Anthony Napolitano (41st) about options for funding the project, and that the item may be considered for placement on the ward’s participatory budgeting ballot.

Napolitano is one of nine aldermen who hold a community vote to determine how to spend their ward’s annual allocation of $1.32 million in discretionary funds. Typically a large portion goes toward side-street resurfacing, but it also can be used for other infrastructure improvements, such as community gardens and sidewalk repairs.

A lot of families in the ward would benefit from the air-conditioning given Taft’s expanding feeder school basketball program and summer camps, Grishaber said.

It also was announced that the tradition of prom being held in a Downtown hotel is ending.

Relocating the dance to nearby Rosemont makes sense given the difficulty of getting to Downtown on a Friday during rush hour, Grishaber said.

"We think it will save money on limos, transportation," he said.

To attend prom, a student must pass all of his or her classes and have a 90 percent or higher attendance rate. About 500 students usually attend the annual dance.

Also at the meeting, the Safety and Security Committee chairwoman Deanna Shoss gave an update on security protocol at the school. Shoss said that students may enter through entrances on Bryn Mawr Avenue or Hurlbut Street but that the Hurlbut doorway closes around 8 a.m.

Taft has nine security guards, including two off-duty police officers, and there also are two uniformed offers assigned to the school.

In other news, Taft has started support groups for the following issues: anxiety, divorce, gender identity, anger, grief, substance abuse, trauma and parent support.

In response to a recommendation from seniors, the school is looking at adding more dual enrollment courses in which a Taft student would take a class at a local college. Grishaber recently solicited input from seniors at his "Donuts with the Dude" breakfast.

Also, Grishaber recently met with Alderman Nicholas Sposato (38th) and Eli’s Cheesecake owner Marc Schulman to discuss traffic flow concerns regarding the construction of a proposed Taft freshman academy at Irving Park Road and Oak Park Avenue. The planned high school would be located next to an industrial complex.