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City To Build Barack Obama College Prep High School

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By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) — A new selective enrollment high school will be built for the 2017 school year and will be named after President Obama, Mayor Emanuel said Thursday.

The Barack Obama College Preparatory High School will eventually enroll 1,200 students from across the city.

“We must seize every opportunity to ensure our students receive a world-class, 21st century education and that they are able to take advantage of the academic opportunities they have earned,” Emanuel said.

This will be CPS’s eleventh selective enrollment high school.

It will open in the fall of 2017 with an inaugural freshman class of nearly 300 students and will add subsequent grade levels each year following.

The project will be funded through approximately $60 million in TIF funds and will be built on Chicago Park District property near Skinner North Classical School, 640 W. Scott, on the Near North Side. The location is near the old Cabrini-Green public housing project and will replace a park.

“I think we have enough vacant land in this community to be able to balance it out,” said 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett Jr.

The location is only a mile away from Walter Payton High School, one of the best schools in the state.

“It has two different rail lines, four different bus lines, has open land and is all being funded by TIF, That makes the choices come down dramatically to literally less than a handful. That’s why,” said Emanuel.

Selective enrollment schools are highly competitive.

Applications for these schools grew 8 percent this school year with 16,440 students vying for one of approximately 3,200 seats throughout the district.

As in years past, more than 2,400 students this year who qualified for admissions into a selective enrollment school were denied because there were not enough seats available.

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