Wendell Phillips Excessive College Will get ‘Monumental’ $17 Million Annex With New Fitness center, Locker Rooms, Corridor Of Fame

GRAND BOULEVARD — The town’s oldest predominately Black excessive colleges has a serious improve: a multimillion-dollar athletic annex.

On Wednesday, elected officers, college students, employees and alumni poured into Wendell Phillips’s new gymnasium, 244 E. Pershing Highway, for a ribbon-cutting of the college’s two-story, $17 million, 21,260-square-foot athletic annex.

It options upgraded locker rooms, workplaces, coaching rooms, storage, a concession stand and a Corridor of Fame highlighting student-athletes from the college’s previous.

The ability can be LEED-certified and has a roof with reflective coating to scale back the greenhouse impact brought on by supplies holding onto the warmth from the solar, which helps with power prices, officers mentioned.

Credit score: Jamie Nesbitt Golden/Block Membership Chicago
The ceiling of the brand new athletic annex at Wendell Phillips Academy shows the college’s group identify.

State Sen. Mattie Hunter and Ald. Pat Dowell (third) helped safe the funding to construct the annex, which is hooked up to the primary faculty constructing. About $2.5 million got here from tax increment financing {dollars} accredited by Metropolis Council in April 2021.

“I can’t put in phrases what it will do for the scholars of Wendell Phillips. In a predominately Black faculty that has been traditionally underfunded, this funding is monumental,” Hunter mentioned in a press release. “It’s inspiring and can reinvigorate the educational surroundings. This challenge will present college students and employees that the work they do is valued, and they don’t seem to be being ignored.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot praised Hunter and Dowell for serving to deliver the challenge to fruition and mentioned the addition will encourage college students.

“The Corridor of Fame is such an integral a part of this annex. Some of the efficient methods for us to encourage the following technology to chase after their desires is by reminding them of those that paved the way in which for his or her success,” Lightfoot informed the group.

Whereas now a predominately Black faculty, Wendell Phillips opened at thirty sixth and Wabash in 1904 as a largely white faculty, in accordance with its web site. The college was later moved to thirty ninth and Prairie.

By 1921, about 40 p.c of scholars have been Black, owing largely to the Nice Migration. It later grew to become the primary all-Black highschool within the metropolis.

Luminaries reminiscent of John H. Johnson and Timuel Black are among the many alumni, however the faculty lengthy has struggled with overcrowding and underfunding. After many years of low efficiency and neglect, it was rescued from the Chicago Public Colleges closure record when the Academy for City College Management took it over in 2010.

Credit score: Offered
Wendell Phillips Academy Excessive College, 244 E. Pershing Highway in Bronzeville.

The previous health club the place alumni hosted their annual sock hop fundraisers was in unhealthy situation, its poor lighting and well-worn flooring indicators of an area previous its prime, Dowell mentioned. She was moved to behave, teaming up with Hunter to steer town and state to dig into their coffers, she mentioned.

Building on the area began in spring 2021, officers mentioned.

Hunter stunned alumni with a particular championship jacket to commemorate Phillips’ soccer group, which received the state championship in 2015 and 2017. The jacket will cling on the wall, together with jerseys from star athletes.

Because the ceremony with college students and alumni decked out in blue and white, many audio system famous Phillips’s impression on the world, from Nat King Cole and Gwendolyn Brooks to a bunch of basketball gamers who would grow to be the Harlem Globetrotters. Whereas the college has weathered its fair proportion of destructive criticism, they known as on college students and employees to soar despite all of it.

“That is the time and the chance to look towards the long run for what our college students want and deserve,” mentioned Principal Rashad Talley, who took over the position this yr.

Talley’s personal connection to the college spans many years; his father was a part of the category of ’68, and he grew up surrounded by kinfolk who have been former college students.

Credit score: Jamie Nesbitt Golden/Block Membership Chicago
Saint Anthony Clements stands in entrance of his picture in Wendell Phillips Academy’s Corridor of Fame Wednesday.

Alumnus Saint Anthony Clements mentioned he was in awe of the area.

Clements, a basketball group standout who graduated in 1984, recalled the academics and classmates who made his 4 years at Phillips memorable. Whereas he nonetheless retains in contact with them on Fb, seeing them in particular person after so a few years made him really feel like he was at dwelling.

The retired social employee made the journey from Hawaii to see the annex and the wall the place the youthful model of himself is immortalized.

“It’s unbelievable. I’m honored to be on the partitions with the opposite gamers right here, and it was such a fantastic honor to go to the college,” Clements mentioned. “I’m glad they’re preserving the custom going in any case these years.”

Subscribe to Block Membership Chicago, an unbiased, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Each dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Click on right here to help Block Membership with a tax-deductible donation. 

Thanks for subscribing to Block Membership Chicago, an unbiased, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Each dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods. Click on right here to help Block Membership with a tax-deductible donation.

Hearken to “It’s All Good: A Block Membership Chicago Podcast”:

Hafidah Rosyid

Leave a Reply

Next Post

The Household Middle welcomes new board members, proclaims fall applications

Sat Sep 10 , 2022
Picture courtesy of Buzz YoungerPictured from left are Government Director Jennifer Bingaman, Christine Alcantara, Laura Burns, LaShanda Thomas, Shane Reeside, Sheila Tomkowiak, Eve Palinski, Julie Huellmantel, Sierra Donaven, Director of Applications & Administration MaryJo Harris, Suzanne Antonelli, founder Diane Strickler and Chip Rohde. Not pictured are board members Lynne Aldrich, […]
The Household Middle welcomes new board members, proclaims fall applications

You May Like