The goal of the O’Hare School Sound Insulation Program (SSIP) is to reduce aircraft noise levels in schools and create a quieter learning environment for students in the O’Hare area.
Since 1982, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) has administered the SSIP in communities surrounding O’Hare International Airport. With the creation of the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission in 1996, ONCC has provided input and overseen the SSIP program in cooperation with the CDA.
The program is the largest and among the oldest in the world and has provided more than $350 million in federal and airport funds to sound insulate 124 schools, with the last school in process.
A school must meet the following criteria in order to seek sound insulation funding.
1. School is recognized by the Illinois Board of Education providing K-12 education and has submitted a letter requesting participation in the SSIP.
2. School’s annual day/night average sound level is equal to or greater than 60 decibels (60 DNL) within the latest Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved noise contour.
3. School’s measured, A-weighted, windows-open interior sound level is equal to or greater than 45 decibels (45 Leq) resulting from aircraft operations.
If a school meets all criteria and grant funding becomes available, the school applies to the FAA for sound insulation funding. A school must then obtain an executed grant agreement with the FAA in order to get reimbursement.
The FAA reimburses 80% of the cost, using Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds, while the city of Chicago reimburses the remaining 20%, using approved airline revenue sources.
Types of Insulation
Once a school is selected to receive sound insulation funding, there are several measures available to reduce aircraft noise impact on schools.
Typical sound insulation measures may include:
- Window modifications
- Addition of acoustical insulation batts to ceiling assemblies
- Weather-stripping windows and doors
- Installation of new air conditioning and ventilation systems
- Addition of vestibules at exterior doors