Gov. Pat Quinn helped break ground Tuesday on a school expansion project that aims to provide more classroom space for art, music, parent education and extracurricular activities.
"You guys are the best, and we have to invest, invest in your education. The best thing we can do as adults and parents is sacrifice some of our present in order to help your future," he said at the morning event outside Erie Elementary Charter School in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood.
The state is kicking in $12 million to build a 16,000 square-foot addition to the school that will house a new gymnasium, computer lab, and larger administration space.
"We are grateful for the state’s support of these critical efforts to offer a quality education for our students," EECS Principal Velia Soto said in a written statement.
The school opened in 2005 with 80 kindergarten through first grade students. Now it was more than 400 low-income or disadvantaged students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The school bases its programs on the nationally-accredited preschool program at the Erie Neighborhood House that has been educating Chicago’s low-income immigrant children since 1870.
"This funding will help ensure more Illinois children have access to a quality educational environment and facilities that will give them a leg up and prepare them for the future," said David Vaught, the director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
Once the expansion is complete, the facility will be compliant with the American’s with Disabilities Act and will qualify for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification.