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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 3, 2000

Ryan Visits Oak Park School To Highlight State's Continued Commitment To Education

OAK PARK -- Governor George H. Ryan today visited Emerson Middle School in Oak Park to highlight the state's commitment of $17.7 million to help finance construction of two badly-needed middle schools and the renovation of seven elementary schools.

"These projects are perfect examples of the type of progress we're beginning to see in school districts throughout Illinois because of this state's commitment to education," Ryan said. "Without Illinois FIRST, we would have been unable to assist Oak Park School District 97 with these long-overdue capital improvements."

In July of 1999, Ryan first announced the state's commitment to the project. The grant will allow Oak Park School District 97 to demolish the dilapidated Emerson and Julian Middle Schools and build two new schools with the same names on the same sites. Each school will house 1,000 students and have a gymnasium with seating for 450 people. In addition, a total of 18,100 square-feet of classroom space will be added to the following district 97 elementary schools: Bye, Holmes, Irving, Lincoln, Longfellow, Mann and Whittier.

Renovations include new classrooms and computer labs, as well as electrical and heating/cooling upgrades. Construction will begin this spring, with a total project cost of approximately $31 million.

Attached are briefing materials outlining Governor Ryan's proposed Fiscal Year 2001 education and technology initiatives.


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