NEAR WEST SIDE — Construction has begun on a $4.3 million athletic field for Whitney Young Magnet High School next to Skinner Park, school officials said.
The project, expected to be completed later this year, will convert the current space on the CPS selective-enrollment school’s campus at 211 S. Laflin St. into a multi-purpose field that can host baseball, softball, football, soccer and lacrosse.
When completed, the project will also include a training area for track and field events, scoreboards, batting cages and seating for fans, according to Chicago Public Schools.
The field construction is being funded through tax-increment financing (TIF) dollars.
Principal Dr. Joyce Kenner said the athletics fields were six years in the making.
“We are exited to receive the money for the new field,” Kenner said. “This is not just for Whitney Young, it’s for the entire community.”
Installation of construction fencing and excavation began earlier this summer. The fields, expected to be completed in December, will be open for use by spring 2019, Kenner said.
The new track will be open to the public, she said.
The athletic field is next to the 7.32-acre Skinner Park. Skinner Park Advisory Council President May Toy said the lack of community input during the planning process for the Whitney Young fields concerned her.
Toy said the days and times when neighbors will be able to use the TIF-funded fields has not been discussed with the community.
Kenner said Whitney Young officials would address Toy’s concerns regarding access once the field is completed.
“The community will have access, Kenner said.