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Norridge School Gets Federal Grant For Air Traffic Soundproofing

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Ridgewood High School

Ridgewood High School in Norridge is receiving a $21 million grant for soundproofing. (Credit: CBS)

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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.

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