Creating new, state-of-the-art schools will give Chicago Public Schools students the facilities and equipment they need to build a strong foundation for the future, Mayor Richard M. Daley said today as he cut the ceremonial ribbon on the new Gary Comer College Preparatory High School.
Comer College Prep, located at 7200 S. Ingleside in the city’s Greater Grand Crossing community, is one of nearly 100 schools opened over the last six years under the Renaissance 2010 program. The program is designed to create new schools in underserved communities, turn around underperforming schools, and relieve overcrowded classrooms in rapidly growing neighborhoods
“Students, teachers and administrators need all the tools we can provide to ensure a high-level education. There’s no better tool than an up-to-date school building that provides a safe and modern environment for learning,” said Mayor Daley.
Comer College Prep currently hosts more than 500 freshmen, juniors and seniors. Formerly housed in the adjacent Gary Comer Youth Center building, the high school now has its own, 42,000-square-foot facility with 25 classrooms, four science labs, a computer lab and an auditorium.
This project used federal income tax credits through the Chicago Development Fund to encourage individual and corporate taxpayers to invest in low-income communities. “These investments positively impact communities via job creation, increased wages and better amenities,” Mayor Daley said.
The City also supported the project by selling five City-owned parcels of land to the Gary Comer Science and Education Foundation for the construction of the school, for $1.
“This is truly a great example of using public funds to spur development, and to leverage the support of the private sector to improve the community,” Mayor Daley said.
The school is part of the City’s 73rd/University Redevelopment Plan, which encompasses a 31-block area in the Greater Grand Crossing community.
Construction of the Gary Comer Youth Center (completed in 2006), a major rehab of the Paul Revere Elementary School and other developments are all part of the redevelopment effort.
The school is named after late South Side resident Gary Comer, the founder of the Lands’ End clothing company and a strong supporter of children’s education and health care. Comer’s son, Guy, president of the Comer Science and Education Foundation, also appeared at the event.