Hundreds of charter school students and families gathered on the Southwest Side at 5050 S. St. Louis Ave. to mark the placement of the last beam of steel in the innovative 27 million dollar UNO Soccer Academy High School. The school is scheduled to have a grand opening in July this year.
“In Hispanic neighborhoods we have severe overcrowding in schools. If CPS doesn’t address problems in our neighborhood, we will address problems. We need more money to build more schools because the need is so great. We are trying to help out our community. This is what UNO is all about,” said Juan Rangel, CEO of the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO).
The new high school, featuring an innovative circular design, will provide 960 slots for students in grades 9 through 12. The three-story facility will feature inspiring and dynamic interior classroom spaces, as well as cradle a large and inviting exterior courtyard for enjoyment by students and the entire community. A new regulation size soccer field will be constructed adjacent to the high school.
The new high school marks the third new construction UNO charter school that has been built in Chicago’s growing Hispanic neighborhoods.
Alderman Edward M. Burke, who attended the event, said that he compares UNO’s schools to the old traditional Christian schools that provided a strict and quality education. “Our neighborhood is dramatically overcrowded. I am committed to the educational opportunities UNO provides,” said Burke.
“To have a second high school come along is pretty exciting because it shows how much we are growing into the community,” said Viki Martinez, a teacher at one of UNO’s schools.
At the end, students, parents, UNO officials and the Alderman signed the last beam of steel, before it was placed in the construction of the new school.
“As constructors we are building a special place for the future generation. The number of lives will be touched because of the workers today. Our future lies in the hands of our youth,” said Ray Quintanilla, UNO communications director. n