A nearly 7-year process to make the classrooms quieter when planes fly over Elk Grove High School is finally finished, and district officials want to celebrate.
In 2005, Northwest Suburban High School District 214 officials started trying to get funding for a major sound abatement project for the school close to O'Hare airport and after a few setbacks in winning funding and several months of construction, the project is complete, officials said.
The project was part of a multimillion grant from the Federal Aviation Administration and includes double-paned glass with thicker outside windows, new insulated roofing, high noise-reduction ceiling tile and unit ventilators with sound baffles to significantly reduce the noise level, district officials said.
The grant, which is 80 percent reimbursable by the FAA and 20 percent reimbursable by the city of Chicago from airline passenger facility charges, was specifically earmarked to help reduce aircraft noise within classrooms, according to a district release.
Approximately $12.6 million has been spent on the project, which includes improvements in every academic area, including the complete renovation of 71 classrooms, cafeteria and gymnasium.
As part of its regularly scheduled facilities improvement project, the school district spent an additional $1.2 million to remodel two bathrooms, the commons area and the main foyer, as well as add a new community room, seating area for students in the school entryway, ticket booth, and storage areas.
To celebrate, Elk Grove High School will be hosting tours of the building from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10. There also will be a reception and brief remarks by district and school officials, as well as O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission Chairwoman Arlene Mulder.
"This noise abatement project will enhance the learning environment for thousands of students for many years to come," said Deb Parenti, District 214 associate superintendent for finance and operations and a member of the noise compatibility commission.