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Chicago Public Schools Celebrates New Building for Belmont-Cragin Elementary School

17 January 2023

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Officially Opens New Facility for School with Dual Language and Fine Arts Programming

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CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS), Mayor Lori Lightfoot and community leaders celebrated the newly constructed Belmont-Cragin Elementary and Early Childhood Center Tuesday after more than 500 students and staff members moved into their new school late last year. The new building, located on Fullerton and Meade Avenues, offers students access to a black box theater, a music room, a library, an art room, and 32 modern classrooms with scenic views of Riis Park.

"For nearly 10 years, the Belmont-Cragin community has advocated for an elementary school and early childhood center that will help nurture our young people and school community with diverse programs and an opportunity to grow with enriching activities that will feed their minds," said Mayor Lightfoot. "Today's ribbon-cutting demonstrates the steps we have taken to make our students' education a priority, and we will continue to move forward in an effort to provide students and families with the education every student deserves"

The new facility also features a gym with basketball courts, a state-of-the-art stage with light and sound, and a dance studio. The space allows for theater productions, from musicals to dramas that take advantage of a license agreement with Disney Musicals and a partnership with the Goodman Theatre. The school also offers a dual language curriculum that allows students to become bilingual and biliterate in both English and Spanish.

“This beautiful state-of-the-art building offers a dual language program and a performing arts program that will serve students from preschool to grade eight for generations to come,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “This facility represents what can happen when a community comes together to embolden and educate their children.”>

Since 2013, school leaders, parents, students, teachers and community members have advocated for a new building. These groups worked tirelessly to make this school a reality despite the fact many of them would not directly benefit from its construction. 

Community input mobilized school leaders to implement a dual language curriculum in 2015 and to become a fine and performing arts school in 2019 to serve the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood and beyond. This well-rounded school experience is open to students across the District via the District’s lottery process for magnet schools.

Belmont-Cragin students began reporting to the new building in late November 2022, just after the Thanksgiving break. Prior to the move, the school had two locations, the preschool at 6041 W. Diversey Ave. and the elementary school, serving students K-8, at 5252 W. Palmer St.

“Bringing together all of our students has been inspiring,” said Principal Jorge Melgar. “This building is a representation of the hopes and dreams of the people within this neighborhood to create a home dedicated to the development of creativity, language, and so much more that will help our students succeed.”

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