Skip to main content

Original Article: Public Building Commission

The Public Building Commission (PBC) announced today that three of its projects were named winners of the annual Chicago Association of Realtors 2014 Good Neighbor Awards for the contributions they make to the communities they serve.

Jones College Prep High School, 700 S. State St. and the Back of the Yards Campus: Chicago Public High School and Chicago Public Library, 2111 W. 47th St. were each honored with a Good Neighbor Award while Ping Tom Memorial Park Fieldhouse, 1700 S. Wentworth Ave. was given the Association’s highest honor, the Bruce Abrams Award.

The PBC managed the planning, design and construction of the three projects on behalf of Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Public Library and the Chicago Park District. PBC worked collaboratively with its client agencies, the design and construction teams to develop these state of the art community anchors.

Jones College Prep was designed by the architecture firm of Perkins + Will with Walsh Construction Company serving as general contractor. Ping Tom Memorial Park Fieldhouse, was a design/build project by Wight and Company and Back of the Yards Campus was designed by STL Architects, with F.H. Paschen and S.N. Nielsen & Associates. LLC serving as general contractors.

“We are proud to accept these awards because they underscore what we as a public developer know: community anchors like schools, libraries and parks are catalysts for positive change and help build community,” said Erin Lavin Cabonargi, Executive Director of the Public Building Commission. “Each of these projects, in its own way, contributes to the improvement of the community it serves and offers state of the art amenities to Chicago’s residents, whether it is a new school, library or park facility.”

The 28,000 square-foot Ping Tom Memorial Park Fieldhouse serves as a hub for the Chinatown community, and transformed a former railroad yard into a vibrant recreation center with a rooftop terrace that overlooks the Chicago River and offers striking views of the Chicago skyline. It was singled out for its impact on a community that for 50 years fought to bring a park field house back to Chinatown after their original field house was demolished to make way for the construction of the Dan Ryan Expressway.

Jones College Prep offers students a state of the art building with a new gym, swimming pool and dance studio along with computer and engineering lab space. The new school, which opened at the start of the 2013/14 school year, expanded the number of high quality selective enrollment seats available at Jones, providing greater educational access. Adding more students to each freshman class, the school anticipates serving 1,700 students by 2016.

Back of the Yards Campus has become a community anchor, replacing a Brownfield site that was home to a former auto salvage yard. The innovative approach to the project provided students the critical resources needed to reach their full potential. It also provided the community a much-needed library years after the former library, housed in a leased facility, was closed due to flooding and other environmental concerns. The new library offers the entire community access to the resources of the digital age as well as access to the campus facility’s surrounding open space and athletic fields.

According to Matt Farrell, President of the Chicago Association of Realtors, the Good Neighbor Awards recognize properties that exemplify how real estate can positively impact neighborhoods by fulfilling a need, helping the economy and boosting civic pride. Award winners are selected based on quality construction, service to a special population, care to complement the surrounding neighborhood, market value and architectural significance, according to the Chicago Association of Realtors.

About PBC: The Public Building Commission of Chicago manages construction and renovation projects for public projects in the City of Chicago and Cook County. Mayor Rahm Emanuel serves as the PBC’s chairman. Erin Lavin Cabonargi serves as the Executive Director of the PBC.  Additional information about the PBC and its projects can be found at