FOIA Response Details Annex Specifications

This afternoon I received an 85-page response to a FOIA I submitted to the Public Building Commission on Tuesday, October 16. [link to PDF] My request was:

I request, in digital form, documents from 2017-2018 related to Chicago Public School Thomas J. Waters Elementary School. This request includes, but is not limited to:

1. Email discussing construction plans;

2. Task Order Requests, AwardedTask Orders, RFPs, IFB or other contracts for pre-design, design, site surveying, geotechnical reports, environmental engineering, civil engineering, structural engineering, landscape architecture, material testing, AOR (architect of record) services, pre-construction operations or construction. 

3. Memos and communications requesting or budgeting for work on school property, included but not limited to The PBC Board approval of a Partial Undertaking request from the Board of Education for a new Annex.

While most of the documents in the response are technical documents relating to site preparation and paperwork outlining the contract winners’ qualifications, one document included a scope of work from CPS specifying what the new annex should include.

A new approximate 39,000 sq. ft., three-story annex to an existing one-story annex school intended to alleviate overcrowding as well as eliminate one existing classroom modular units. The proposed annex will include (7) standard classrooms, (1) special needs classrooms for 3 age groups, (1) computer classroom, (1) music classroom with storage, (1) art classroom with storage and Kiln, (2) admin offices, (1) conference room with (1) admin reception, a new library/media center, new student dining/multi-purpose room, hybrid kitchen and kitchen servery, kitchen office with (2) staff toilet/locker rooms, building storage, student toilets, utility rooms, an elevator with building support spaces.

The project will also include site improvements for a new parking lot (based on 45 FTE), loading area, refuse w/enclosure, stormwater management infrastructure, landscaping, and a new outdoor 3-12 playground. Work with the existing school building will include renovating existing one-story annex into (1) typical classroom and (1) Art classroom/storage, (1) office and storage. At the link of the existing annex to the three-story existing school building provide a new elevator and access. The demolition of the existing one-story linked modular building in preparation for the new site scope. The existing FTE is TBD and is projected to increase to TBD after the annex is completed. The existing student enrollment is 627 and is projected to increase for an ideal capacity of 870 students. The school has a current capacity of 600 students.

The FOIA response seems incomplete, since it does not include some “attached documents” mentioned in the response and does not include documents assigning the architect and landscape architect. LSC Chair Erica Smith met representatives from Legat Architects, during her meeting last Thursday with Ald. Ameya Pawar, and my wife, Teresa Fourcher, is an architect who recently confirmed with Site Design Group that they are the landscape architects assigned to the project.


The specified 45 parking spaces called for would almost double the existing 24 parking spaces and two handicapped spots. This scope also calls for turning the current annex into classrooms and for rebuilding the current annex programming into a new building.

I’m not sure what the “modular building” is referring to, but my best guess is the large garden shed.

Also, the proposed addition footprint would be about the same footprint as the main, existing school building, which is about 15,000 sq. ft. (not including the gym) The proposed 39,000 sq. ft. three-story addition, would have a 13,000 sq. ft. footprint.

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