New Elementary School Coming to West Lawn

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Chicago’s West Lawn neighborhood is going to get a new elementary school.  The as-yet-unnamed school is going by the moniker “Southwest Area School” for now.

Chicago Architecture Blog managing editor Mary Chmielewicz was there when the city’s Plan Commission approved the proposal from the city’s Public Building Commission.

The school will go up on the northern half of a block bounded by West 61st Street, South Keeler Avenue, West 60th Street, and South Karlov Avenue. Right now, it’s a kind of neighborhood play lot with a baseball diamond, but is not listed as an official part of the Chicago Park District on the district’s web site.  The school will take up the portion of the block not used for baseball diamond, which will be rehabilitated and covered with fake grass.  It will also be joined by a softball diamond.  Both can be overlaid with a grid for soccer or football.

Although the school doesn’t have a name, it does have an architect: STR Partners in River North.  The P.B.C. hopes to start construction in May and open the school in January of 2017.

Here’s a list of highlights from a recent community meeting about the project:

  • Floors: 3
  • Capacity: 1,500 students
  • Size: 133,000 square feet
  • Classrooms: 54
  • Computer laboratories: 2
  • Science laboratories: 4
  • Art rooms: 2
  • Music rooms: 2
  • Library: 1
  • School-wide wifi

Location: 60th and Koval, West Lawn


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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