Sauganash School gym demolition expected to begin next week to make way for addition
by CYRYL JAKUBOWSKI
Demolition of the almost 70-year-old gymnasium at Sauganash School, 6040 N. Kilpatrick Ave., is expected to begin near the end of the month to make way for a 3-story addition to the school.
Chicago Public Buildings chief development officer Ray Giderof gave an update on the progress of the annex construction project at an online meeting Feb. 17 hosted by Alderman Samantha Nugent (39th).
Giderof said that crews would work inside of the gym beginning Monday, Feb. 21, as preparation for the entire building demolition takes place. He said that vibration monitors would be installed on the site and near several homes across from the school.
The project requires demolition of the gym built in 1954 that is connected to the old 2-story school building that was built in 1929.
Giderof said that after gym demolition is completed, construction of deep concrete foundation would be held from March through May, with structural steel beam construction in June and July, with a project completion date of sometime in November, Giderof said. The addition would open next year.
“We understand building the building, especially if you are living across from the street from it, is a burden,” Giderof said. He said that crews would do what they can to minimize disruption to residents, staff, students and parents.
He said more public meetings would be held with the community during major phases of the project so that residents are aware of what is going on near their homes.
A proposed construction schedule for next week has crews working from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, and from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 21, to Friday, Feb. 24.
Tyler Lane Construction project manager Mike Swann said that trucks would use Hiawatha Avenue from Cicero to enter a lot and staging area through a gate near Lemont Avenue and that some trucks will use an entrance on Kilpatrick near Hiawatha, which allows vehicles under 5 tons. Swann said that deliveries would be made outside of student drop-off hours.
“We are trying to keep our equipment on our construction site,” Swann said. “When we do the main demolition we want to keep the dust down so we will keep the area wet.”
Giderof said that Alderman Nugent was able to get permission for crews to park their vehicles at Edens Office Plaza, 4801 W. Peterson Ave., and elsewhere if needed.
Giderof said that the project is about 6 to 8 percent completed and that crews so far have done utility work, generator installation and site demolition. A fiber cable network is also being installed. Giderof said that minor abatement was completed inside of the gym before the demolition could begin.
Swann said that asbestos floor tiles were found in the gym locker rooms and that 100,000 square feet of tile was removed from the locker rooms after school hours.
School principal Christine Munns said that asbestos is not uncommon in old buildings and that many CPS buildings have it.
“And now we don’t. We’re asbestos free,” Munns said.
Nugent said at the end of the meeting that she was excited about the project and that it will be “well-worth it.”
The 37,500 square-foot addition project will add a total of 14 classrooms, including dedicated rooms for art, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and music classes, as well as two pre-kindergarten classrooms. Plans also include administrative and counseling offices, washrooms and an ADA elevator for accessibility. A new gym will also be constructed.
The proposed $40 million annex was approved by the Chicago Board of Education on Aug. 26, 2020. The first annex to relieve overcrowding was built in 2011 and cost $10.5 million.
Last year the Zoning Board of Appeals approved zoning variations despite residents concerns that the new addition would be too close to the street. Nugent told the board at the time that the addition will allow for a better learning environment because of a dozen new classrooms and a new gym.
One granted zoning variation reduced the side yard setback along Kilpatrick from the required 24.25 feet to 12.52 feet.