Lakeshore East’s First School Delayed


GEMS Lakeshore East

The first school to be constructed in the blossoming Lakeshore East development has been pushed back.

According to Richard Ward, the president of the New Eastside Association of Residents, Alderman Reilly has told him that the entire project has been pushed back one year.

The alderman passed along this statement from GEMS:

“In the interest of providing the families of Chicago with the best education experience possible, GEMS Education has decided to open GEMS World Academy – Chicago in September 2014 rather than the originally planned 2013 opening. This world class school will provide students with an outstanding international education and access to a unique learning environment through its global network of schools.

GEMS Lakeshore EastThis is a change to our original schedule because the decision has been made to ensure that our state-of-the-art facilities will fully reflect the requirements of 21st century learning and are of the highest quality technologically and environmentally. In doing so we have realized that we need more time to successfully complete a project of this magnitude.

With the lower school opening in September 2014 families will be able to enroll children beginning in the Spring of 2013. We plan to open the middle and upper schools in 2016.

GEMS appreciates the extended support from the Alderman and the Chicago Building Department as well as their office staffs who have worked diligently through the necessary permitting process. We look forward to our continued working relationship with the City of Chicago, Alderman Reilly and our many partners, supporters and friends.”

The privately-run GEMS school proposal was very controversial when it first came to light, largely because a number of people who moved into Lakeshore East were under the impression that the development would get a public school for their children.

In the decade that people have been living in LSE, that hasn’t happened; and while Reilly confirms that Magellan Development is still obligated to build at least the shell of a public school building, Chicago Public Schools has nowhere near the resources to outfit, equip, and staff it; and has other much higher priorities right now.

Update [October 31, 2012 @ 9:12am Central Time]

We just heard from Duffy Palmer, the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at GEMS HQ in New York.  He says we won’t have to wait too much longer for construction to begin.  GEMS now plans to break ground in February, 2013 so that the first phase (“Lower School”) can be finished for classes in August, 2014 .

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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