When the public school down the block got a grant to install sound insulation to keep down the noise from O’Hare International Airport a few years ago, St. Tarcissus School Principal Roy Hecker wondered what was going on.
“Why would they get it and we didn’t?” said Hecker, whose school at 6040 W. Ardmore serves more than 350 children from preschool through eighth grade. “I wondered if I missed something.”
But when Hecker contacted the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission, he was told that officials simply hadn’t realized St. Tarcissus was there.
After a lengthy application process and noise testing that took place in the summer of 2012, the school got the good news: based on current noise levels and the increased noise levels that are expected to occur once a new runway becomes operational, the school qualified for a $4.9 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration and the City of Chicago Department of Aviation.
“We know this sound insulation makes a difference for our children and expect the students and staff at St. Tarcissus will achieve even greater success in their new, quiet surroundings.” said Raymond Kuper, chairman of ONCC’s School Sound Insulation Committee, which conducted the study.
Hecker said that airplane noise levels vary depending on where you are on the school’s campus, and they are expected to get much worse with the completion of the new runway.
The grant will pay for acoustical windows, new heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment and other modifications.
Work is expected to start after school lets out in June and take place over the next two summers.
The O’Hare School Sound Insulation Program has provided grants to 119 schools based on the levels of airplane noise measured at each site, with four more schools in the process of being evaluated. Overall, it has allocated $332.8 million in federal and airport funds for the project.