CPS Backs Off Plan To Build Annex Atop School Garden

Steve Miller
October 19, 2018 - 7:14 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) – Earlier this week we reported the story of the three-acre garden at Waters Elementary on the Northwest Side and controversial plans by Chicago Public School to build a school annex there.

On Friday, CPS apparently backed off.

Parents of children at Waters Elementary School now have a letter from the principal, saying a proposal to build an annex that would destroy much of the garden is "off the table."

"I'm so grateful for this decision being made,” said Pete Leki, the director of ecology programs at Waters School.

"I have to say these last few days have been so stressful, mot just to me but for the children.”

He explained: "I don't know how many of our students came up to me and said in dismay, 'Are they going to destroy our garden?' And it was very difficult for me to know how to answer that."

The 25-year-old garden is a centerpiece of the school and the community, and it includes four Bur Oaks, which school officials say are 300 years old.

The chairperson of the local school council, Erica Smith, says other sites will be considered for a badly needed annex.