Lakeshore East developers still on hook for public school
Despite GEMS World Academy’s move into New Eastside, Ald. Brendan Reilly says contract demands school
07/30/2012 6:53 PM
Despite a private school’s move into Lakeshore East, the area’s developers are still on the hook to build the shell of a public school, according to Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd).
At a public meeting hosted by Reilly and the New Eastside Association of Residents about the new GEMS World Academy private school that’s angling to move into Lakeshore East, Reilly began the presentation with the disclaimer that there would still be a public school, whenever CPS was ready to get moving.
“In no way will this project abrogate the developer’s responsibility to provide the core and shell for a new public school,” Reilly said at the meeting last Wednesday, held in a packed room in the Radisson Blu Aqua.
The planned development for Lakeshore East requires the site’s developer, Magellan, to build the walls and basic infrastructure for a public school into a building of some kind, which CPS would then have to finish off. That could cost about $30 to $35 million, Reilly and CPS officials said.
After a rundown of GEMS’ plans at last week’s meeting — including a look at how GEMS intends to keep parents from clogging up the streets in the area — questions from the audience quickly turned back to the public school, and when and how it could be built.
Reilly said he understood the need for the school, but CPS simply doesn’t have the cash to finish a new building right now, which he said would be east of GEMS if it was built.
“They do not have a robust capital plan that has the $30 million necessary to build out that core and shell,” he said. “CPS is not in a position to deliver us a public school in Lakeshore East in the near future. They have a very limited budget when it comes to new schools. I’ve met with the last three superintendents to remind them what an important project this is.”
Lindy McGuire, CPS’ Manager of City Council relations, was on hand to confirm Reilly statement.
“As usual, the alderman said it best,” she told the audience. “We’re not in a position to be building a new school. We just don’t have the $30 to $35 million to match it.”