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Officials Promise Air Conditioning In All Chicago Classrooms By 2017

WBBM's Lisa Fielding

(CBS) -- With the flip of a switch, all 30 classrooms at Bouchet Math & Science Academy, 7355 South Jeffery, will have air conditioning units this academic year.

"Today is going to be a little bit easier for our teachers and teachers. Today will have cool classrooms so teaching and learning is easy," Principal Shontae Higginbottom said Monday.

The four-year project has equipped 1,000 classrooms within 235 schools with air-conditioning units.

Bouchet Math & Science Academy Air Conditioning
A worker installs an air conditioner at Bouchet Math & Science Academy (Lisa Fielding/WBBM)

"This debate began in 1963, and now it's going to be complete a year ahead of time," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool says the $135 million investment is a critical step forward for both students and teachers.

"You can't learn if you're in a boiling classroom, or in the winter, freezing or if there is water leaking from the roof," he said. "When people say why are you investing capitol dollars in schools when you have such operating fiscal challenges, it's just as important to make sure every child has a safe, comfortable environment as it is to provide a great teacher. Because in the absence of that safe, comfortable environment kids can't learn."

The first day of school is Sept. 6.

The remaining 61 schools without air conditioning will receive air conditioning by spring 2017.


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