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Sullivan High School Upgrades Have One Problem--New Windows That Don't Open

CHICAGO (CBS) -- In just more than a week, students return to Sullivan High School in Rogers Park, and they will see $25 million in much-needed repairs and upgrades.

But, as CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reports, there is one big problem--and it is posing a health and safety concern.

The issue: The gymnasium windows on the second floor don't open, making the space nothing short of a sauna.

Crews are continuing to work in the summer heat to get all of the school improvements done before the first day of class on Aug. 31.

"We had a lot of problems with leaking and moldy classrooms," said Ald. Maria Hadden (49th).

The much-welcomed work turned troubling when Sullivan administrators told Hadden on Thursday that the second floor south and west gym windows don't open. That part of the school building, erected in 1923, doesn't have air conditioning. It does have an overactive boiler that can create stifling conditions in winter.

All in a pandemic, no less.

Hadden said nobody from the school had to chance to review the plans before the windows were ordered an installed.

The gym's old windows did open. All of the windows in Sullivan's classrooms open and they also have AC units.  According to Hadden, the Chicago Public Schools' initial response: the cash-strapped school, with a 90% low-income population, needed to come up with the cash itself to fix the mistake.

"That was infuriating," said Hadden.

Hadden took her frustrations to Facebook and hopes CPS will make it right. "Clearly, they didn't consult with the building engineers," she said on the video.

Hadden said she got a call from a CPS official Friday afternoon, telling her half of the windows will be replaced by the start of the school year.  The rest will be replaced at a later date.  CPS did not return a request for comment.

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