Report From Annex Planning Meeting With CPS

Water Elementary LSC Chair Erica Smith provided this update on her Friday meeting:

Principal Kipp, Mr. Leki, Jessie Novak (VP WatersToday) and I (Erica Smith, LSC Chair) met this morning in Alderman Pawar’s office with officials from CPS, the Public Building Commission, and an architect working on the preliminary design for our new Annex. While many details of the design remain to be finalized, we wanted to share some of the main features of the project that have been decided. The location of the new three story annex will be the NE corner of the property eliminating the ‘big kid’ playground and surrounding greenery, connecting the new annex with the existing building which will include an elevator.  

The main building will receive a new roof, tuckpointing and painting.  The interior of the current [annex] will be redesigned for classroom and additional meeting space.  The south garden and play field have been designated a “no work” zone. Play space, directly east of the gym doors, has been incorporated into the plan (they consulted with the landscape architects that designed the Welles Park nature play area but are open to other proposals). They will continue to update us on the schematic design process and likely schedule a community meeting to present the plans sometime in January.

They requested that we not publish the diagrams as they are still very much subject to change especially in regards to budget. We have made additional requests (I brought up the gym, for example, which is not slated for an upgrade in the current plan). Anyone who has questions or comments about the new annex is welcome to email me at my LSC email.

Then, on my request, Smith provided a timeline of the progress of the new annex building thus far.

Current annex was constructed in 2009-10. As part of that process, the community advocated for the annex to be able to support building up as continued growth was expected. That request was not accommodated due to budget constraints. Between 2007 and 2017, our K-8 enrollment nearly doubled, increasing by 86%. We lost our pre-K programs, Ecology program space, library, and music room. We advocated for more space through our Alderman’s office throughout this period, keeping him updated on our enrollment and space constraints. In December of 2017, we had a regular check-in with Alderman Pawar.  Then–

1/24/18 – Meeting with Alderman Pawar to discuss possible funding for CPS capital improvement projects

2/20/18 – Stakeholder meeting with teachers, LSC, and WT members to discuss space and programming needs

2/23/18 – Submitted Waters School vision for expansion to Alderman Pawar

7/6/18 – Announcement of FY19 capital budget plan, Waters to get a new annex and building repairs

7/19/18 – Public hearings on FY19 capital budget plan

7/24/18 – BoE approves FY19 capital budget plan

late July-early August: CPS/PBC discuss options with Ms. Kipp, she rules out building on the field or in the garden (to my understanding).

9/11/18 – PBC approves partial undertaking request for CPS annex projects

10/19/18 – Stakeholder meeting at Alderman Pawar’s Office (Principal Kipp, Erica Smith, many CPS/PBC officials and architects)

11/11/18 – Organizational meeting to proactively plan community meeting

11/13/18 – Community meeting to discuss process and get input

11/16/18 – Stakeholder meeting at Alderman Pawar’s Office (Principal Kipp, Pete Leki, Erica Smith, Jessie Novak, and reps from CPS/PBC and architects) to discuss strategic design process and annex location


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