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Whitney Young Raising Money To Resurface Tennis Courts To Complement New Michelle Obama Athletic Complex

If the school can raise $60,000, the U.S. Tennis Association will match funds raised to improve the school's tennis courts, school officials said.

Mauricio Peña/ Block Club Chicago
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WEST LOOP —  As Whitney Young Magnet High School prepares to cut the ribbon on a brand new multi-use athletic field next week, the CPS selective-enrollment school is in the process of raising money to resurface its tennis courts.

School officials are working to raise $15,000 to improve to the four tennis courts at the school, 211 S. Laflin St., said Deb Keegan, Whitney Young’s director of development.

The push to raise money for the courts comes after the former president of the U.S. Tennis Association, Katrina Adams, a Whitney Young alum, told school officials the association would match $60,000 in donations in an effort to resurface the courts, Keegan said. The courts are currently in rough shape.

As of Monday, Whitney Young has raised $45,000 toward the project, Keegan said.

Neighboring residents who use the tennis courts urged the school to reach out to community members to help raise the final amount needed for the tennis courts, she said. The school has since posted a banner on the tennis court fence directing people to a donation page for the school.

The court work is estimated to cost $120,000 but could likely be higher. The school is working with U.S. Tennis Association to find a vendor to keep the cost low, Keegan said.

Credit: Mauricio Peña/ Block Club Chicago

Dr. Joyce Kenner, Whitney Young principal, previously told Block Club the school aims to open the resurfaced courts next summer. 

The fundraising effort for the tennis courts is part of a $500,000 capital campaign to raise money to make improvements to the theater, science labs and in other areas of the school, which was built more than 40 years ago, Keegan said.

“We are more than halfway toward our goal,” Keegan said.

Michelle Obama athletic complex

Whitney Young’s new Michelle Obama athletic complex will officially open Monday.

The block party and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new $4.3 million athletic field named after the former first lady and Whitney Young alum is scheduled for 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Adams Street between Laflin and Loomis.

The event will include a video message from Obama, food from local food trucks and games on the new athletic field.

Credit: Mauricio Peña/ Block Club Chicago / Facebook
Whitney Young Magnet High School is set to cut the ribbon on a $4.3 million athletic complex named after alumna and former first lady Michelle Obama.

The complex — funded through tax-increment financing dollars — will have a multi-purpose field that can host baseball, softball, football, soccer and lacrosse matches. It will also include a training area for track and field events, scoreboards, batting cages and seating for fans.

Kenner said Michelle Obama “embodied the spirit of athleticism.”

During her time as the first lady, Obama spearheaded the national fitness campaign “Let’s Move!” to fight childhood obesity. 

RELATED: New $4.3 Million Whitney Young Athletic Field Under Construction Next To Skinner Park

Last November, Obama, who graduated from Whitney Young High School in 1981, kicked off her “Becoming” book tour at the school.

“She has always been a proponent of physical activity to improve our health … and a proponent of school community …and her position needs to be honored,” Kenner said. 

Construction on the athletic complex began last September.

Donate to Whitney Young’s Capital Campaign here.

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