Norridge School Gets Federal Grant For Air Traffic Soundproofing

UPDATED 06/17/11 9:49 a.m.

NORRIDGE, Ill. (CBS) — A suburban high school is getting a lot of money to reduce the noise from planes flying into and out of O’Hare International Airport.

As CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl reports, Ridgewood High school, at 7500 W. Montrose Ave. in Norridge, will be the recipient of a nearly $21 million federal grant.

An increased volume of flights at the nation’s airports, and the corresponding increase in noise levels, have prompted the federal government to set aside money nationwide to help insulate high-impact facilities against sound interference.

Between 1982 and 2004, some 92 schools received some $220 million in insulation to combat noise issues. Now it’s Ridgewood High School’s turn.

The school sits about five miles east of the runway 28 approach. With a 28-left and 28-right coming as part of the O’Hare Modernization Project, the volume of air traffic on the runway will increase even further.

But even as it is, Ridgewood School District 234 Supt. Robert Lupo says the school is “in the crosshairs.”

WBBM Newsradio 780’s Regine Schlesinger reports the noise gets so bad that teachers sometimes have to stop in mid-sentence.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Regine Schlesinger reports

“We have had to cancel activities in certain parts of the building at certain times, since they’re not air-conditioned and the windows have to be open,” Lupo said.

Ridgewood High was constructed in 1959, when O’Hare was already located nearby. But since then, Lupo says, the jets have become louder.

“We used to mostly have incoming flights, but now with some of the new runway configurations, we have some outbound flights as well – some departures – which are much noisier because they’re building up their power as they leave the airport,” Lupo said.

Lupo says not all the work will be completed over the summer, but the school should be much quieter by the fall.

The grant was announced in November. At that time, In a comment on the Village of Norridge Web site, Lupo said the soundproofing would not only protect against air traffic noise, but would also reduce energy costs in the school district by around 20 percent.

  • Tim W.

    Which came first…O’Hare International Airport. or Ridgewood High school ? Sounds like some stupid people build a school by a airport and now want to complain about the noise ! OH and now its going to cost the tax paying American people $21 million for a bandaid !

    • Linda

      Ohare was a Douglas manufacturing building for a good number of years (1954). Commercial passenger flights started in 1955[9] and an international terminal was built in 1958; O’Hare’s new terminal opened in 1962. That all came about because Midway became too over grown and crowded. The school was built in 1960. I dont think anyone had any idea at the time how fast and far we would go with air travel and technolgy in general. People just didnt have the money. We were all one car families , with one person in household working, (with no such thing as a family room or den). We all had living rooms and most of the time had to sit on the floor if we were lucky enough to be invited into the living room when we had company. We accepted doing with out. So as far as what came first, they both came around the same time not knowing the consequences. Im sure Ohare has out grown its capacity.

      • AJ

        Well said Linda, Tim obviously didn’t read the article to understand the school’s situation.

  • Noreen

    Also since the whole village is next to O’hare airport where should we have built the school? In another village 20 miles away? Better yet, maybe we should just move the whole village?

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