April 20, 2010

Lab campus to expand to Stony Island

The Lab Schools’ Early Childhood Center will likely be built at the site of the Doctors Hospital at 58th Street and Stony Island Avenue, University officials and a representative from the architectural firm FGM announced at a meeting in Judd Hall Thursday. Plans for a new Art Wing on the main campus were also announced.

The plans for the Early Childhood Center, which will specialize in kindergarten to second-grade education, include a large pick-up and drop-off facility in order to lessen the impact on Stony Island Avenue traffic in the mornings and afternoons. The new buildings are intended to architecturally complement their surroundings. Construction has been scheduled to end in 2013.

The Lab Schools’ main campus at 59th and Dorchester Avenue had also been considered as a possible site at the first meeting announcing plans to build the center in February.

The Arts Wing is slated to include space for art and music classes and will be added onto the Lab Schools’ main campus. “The Schools’ arts classes are currently held in classrooms designed for other purposes,” FGM spokesman Joe Chronister said, commenting on the need for a distinct arts area.

A woman who described herself as a “neighbor of the construction” expressed concern over the noise and material hazards of the proposed construction at Stony Island.

“We’ll be working on mitigating noise and dust as we proceed,” Chronister replied. He said his firm has a “dust and noise mitigation plan” in addition to following standard municipal construction regulations.

According to the University, there will likely be one more meeting on the expansion plans this summer.