New Jones College Prep applies for zoning

02/23/2011 10:00 PM

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Jones College Prep, the high-performing South State Street high school, is moving on its new building.

Chicago Public Schools went before the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals on Friday to request permission to build the eight-story school.

The district needs permission from the board to build a school in the downtown area, on what was formerly the site of the charity Pacific Garden Mission’s headquarters.

After CPS listed the school’s features during testimony — 1,250 students, a gym (which the current Jones lacks), half the energy usage — the board of appeals took the project under consideration, delaying the ruling as they undertake each project.

However, Lori Healey, a board member and former chief of staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley, hinted at the board’s eventual decision in a remark to the project’s representatives.

“It’s nice to see it finally moving forward,” Healey said.

Ald. Bob Fioretti’s office has requested that 300 slots of the roughly 1,250 slated for the new high school’s student body be set aside for South Loop students, as opposed to being open to the entire city, as most of the magnet high schools currently are.

CPS has not announced whether or not it will institute that policy.

Much of the project’s financing is expected to be paid out of local 2nd Ward TIF funds, rather than CPS coffers.

Jones has been one of the highest-performing high schools in the city. The new school is expected to begin construction in April, and open in fall 2013.

At the hearing, the project’s representatives said they’re still in discussions about what will happen to the old Jones building once the new school opens.

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