The new Jones College Prep in a few words

and a picture

08/05/2011 10:40 AM

By Bonnie McGrath

4 Comments - Add Your Comment

The new

The old

In case you were wondering what was going to happen to the old Jones College Prep Building when the new Jones College Prep Building gets completed next door on South State on the old Pacific Garden Mission property, here’s the news: Right now, according to Erin Lavin Cabonargi, executive director of the Public Building Commission of Chicago, it’s going to be torn down to build a new park--and for straightening out the crazy and dangerous intersection at State and Harrison.

So that’s the story. Which upsets me--because I really like the current Jones building. It’s so 60s, and I love the whiteness--and the courtyard and all the dimensions; the windows and the glassy doorways and the accent colors.

But you can’t fight city hall. (Note: Rahm's on the board of the PBC.)

I also found out a lot about the new Jones yesterday at a Friends of Downtown program at the Cultural Center. The new building will be geared for student comfort, environemental sustainability, resiliency, long-lastingness, and will be filled with plenty of Terrazzo and masonry, not to mention huge walls of glass and light and fresh air.

The views of Grant Park will be great. There will be a reading terrace off the library. A fantastic swimming pool on the top floor (with the open span it wouldn’t have worked on any of the floors below) and a fabulous gym, also adjacent to a terrace. But not to worry, those amenities will be open for the neighborhood to use, including parties on the terrace, which will have a fantastic view up Balbo to Grant Park.

There will also be an arcade which we will be free to walk under on State Street in inclement weather. A green roof--what there will be of an actual roof. And enough 900 square-foot classrooms to hold 1200 students, 30 students per classroom. Not to mention 68 parking spots for faculty and staff.

There will be choral rooms and science labs. The benefits of an acoustical consultant who is working on the project. And a dining hall and a first floor auditorium. And although there will be elevators in the seven-story structure, the students will be expected to use the stairs. “They’re 14 to 17-year-olds,” said Cabonargi. “They shouldn’t have trouble walking.”

All of this will be ready for students and the public in the fall of next year. To the tune of 90 million in construction costs. But it hasn’t been easy to plan construction--what with the Red Line hovering beneath, air shafts in every direction, the Chicago water table just below the surface and an 80-foot water line traversing the property.

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By JJ from PDNA
Posted: 08/08/2011 3:14 PM

It's not over until the fat lady sings. While Erin and PBC have wanted to straighten Harrison for a long time, nothing is yet set in stone to take down the current Jones.

By SF Chicago
Posted: 08/08/2011 2:39 PM

It sounds to me like the new building is going to be pretty awesome, but it is sad to see the old one go.

By Bonnie McGrath from South Loop
Posted: 08/05/2011 10:40 PM

leslie, i love more and more green space--but i hate to lose a historical building to make room for it. also, didn't want to imply that students would never be allowed to use the elevators at the school. students who are physically challenged will be able use them at all times, of course!

By Leslie Millenson from North Center
Posted: 08/05/2011 4:37 PM

The more green space we create downtown the better. It's one of the things that distinguishes us from New York and makes Chicago the best if not the "first" city.