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Lakeshore East Private School Issued Full Construction Permit Worth $58M

A rendering of GEMS World Middle-Upper School in Lakeshore East.

The Chicago Department of Buildings issued a full construction permit Wednesday for the construction of GEMS World Academy Middle-Upper School, a private middle and high school in Lakeshore East. The work covered by the permit is valued at $58M.

Foundation work for the 13-story building at 355 Upper Wacker Drive began in February. The school and architect bKL Architecture have made some concessions to the building's design since it was first announced. The original plans called for the building to rise 16 stories. In addition to cutting the height, the building was set back further, with the gap bridged by a staircase and an access ramp compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The school will accommodate 1,440 students in grades 8-12. Amenities include a 500-seat auditorium, a two-story library, a digital theater and media workshop, a gym and a rooftop common area with views of Navy Pier.

This building is the second phase of construction for GEMS World Academy. GEMS opened a K-9 school at 350 East South Water St. in September 2014. Tuition is $34K/year. Construction is expected to be complete in winter 2019.