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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Project To Connect Kenwood Academy Buildings, Add Cooling System To Gym Gets Key City Approval

The $9.2 million project would connect the main Kenwood Academy campus with the selective-enrollment academic center and add a heating and cooling system in the high school's gym.

A west-facing rendering of the Kenwood Link project, which would connect the Kenwood Academy main high school campus and selective-enrollment academic center.
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KENWOOD — A project to allow students and staff at Kenwood Academy to walk between the school’s middle and high school buildings without having to go outside was approved by City Council’s finance committee Monday.

The “Kenwood Link” would connect the main high school campus, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., and the selective-enrollment academic center for seventh- and eighth-graders located in the former Canter Middle School.

Space for outdoor learning and streetscape improvements would be included as part of the construction, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023.

The city would also replace a heating-only unit in the Kenwood Academy gym with a new rooftop system for heating and cooling by the end of 2022.

Finance committee members voted unanimously Monday to approve the $9.2 million project. The Kenwood Link portion will cost $7.5 million, while the heating and cooling system will cost $1.7 million.

If approved by City Council, the city would use tax-increment financing (TIF) funds from the 53rd Street TIF district to pay for all improvements. The full council will vote on the project Wednesday, at the first in-person council meeting in more than a year.

“This is a project that the school and the community have been working on for some time now,” Ald. Sophia King (4th) said. “… We just want the outside of the school to look like what’s going on on the inside, and to bring resources. More importantly, this headway will provide much more security and continuity between the two buildings.”

The finance committee also approved $2.5 million in TIF funds toward building a gym at the landmarked Wendell Phillips Academy High School, 244 E. Pershing Road in Bronzeville, by the end of 2022.

The 117-year-old building “needs to be brought into the 21st century, and with this addition, we think we will do that,” Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) said.

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