DNA Info / Mina Bloom
HUMBOLDT PARK – For years, students at Roberto Clemente High School have watched home baseball games from what one parent described as “chair bleachers,” or plastic school chairs attached to a piece of drink.
“We built them as students because we wanted seats,” said Shannon Glenn, parent who graduated from Clemente in 1997.
But soon, those makeshift stands will be a thing of the past.
The Roberto Clemente Community Academy, 1147 N. Western Ave., and the neighboring Wells Community Academy, 936 N. Ashland Ave., each receive new sports fields with a number of amenities, such as new canoes, bleachers, stands. press, dashboards and sound systems, officials said on Wednesday.
The new Clemente field will be used for softball and baseball, while the new Wells field will be used for soccer and baseball. Clemente also gets an additional turf turf for practice.
Ald. Joe Moreno (1st), whose neighborhood includes schools, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Principal Marcey Sorensen at the Clemente media center on Wednesday morning to share the news, which was greeted enthusiastically by parents and students.
Sorensen, who has been at the helm of Clemente for six years, said the fields will build on the school’s recent accomplishments, such as achieving a 100 percent graduation rate, improving its attendance rate and the introduction of an international baccalaureate program.
“It’s a school that was on probation for 19 years. So now being a 2+ [in CPS ratings] is just amazing, ”Sorensen said.
Schools are ranked from level 1+ to level 3, with level 1+ being the highest score and level 3 the lowest.
Emanuel called the land an “investment in the great athletic program” which “would complement a world-class academic program”.
Ald. Joe Moreno (1st), Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Principal Marcey Sorensen share the news with parents and students on Wednesday. [DNAinfo/Mina Bloom]
Construction on the fields is expected to begin next spring, according to Chicago public school officials. The project is expected to be completed in a year, according to a press release.
The entire project will cost $ 6.5 million, using CPS additional capital money, according to Mayor Lauren Huffman spokeswoman. Although Clemente’s land will cost more ($ 3.5 million), the most significant transformation will be in Wells, where teams will be tasked with converting a concrete parking lot into a sports field, she said. .
Clemente, named after the late Puerto Rican Major League Baseball and Humanitarian Hall of Fame, draws primarily low-income students from Humboldt Park and surrounding areas, according to CPS. Of the 729 students enrolled, 67 percent are Latino and 29 percent are black.
Fabian Rentas, a junior who plays for the Clemente baseball team, said the pitch would make a big difference.
“Coming from the situation I was in last year, having walked a long enough distance to come to this school and then having that announced is pretty cool,” said Fabian, who commutes from the far south to dating Clemente.
“School and athletics go hand in hand when it comes to working hard,” he added.
Freddie Morales, who plays shortstop at Clemente, called the former pitch “horrible”.
“When the ball hit you, you were afraid the ball might jump,” said Freddie. “That’s why I’m happy to have this brand new land.”
For Glenn and Clemente’s other parents, the new estate will provide more opportunities for students to succeed.
“A lot of our kids here, even though they’re great students, might not get to where they’re supposed to be,” said Glenn, whose daughter plays volleyball at school.
“But if they play sports and they’re smart… now that’s a backup. Now you provide something the schools really want. They want you to be a part of their school, bring some athleticism. , they want you to represent their school with respect, love and honor to bring in future students. ”
Glenn called the school in the 90s “horrible, full of gangs, always fighting.”
But the mother of six said the school has improved dramatically over the years since leaving, especially since Sorensen took the helm.
“The fact that they invest so much time and money in getting Clemente to go to where other schools are in the upscale neighborhoods and the suburbs is a blessing to my heart. kids would have that, and now they’re having that, ”Glenn said.
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