EDGEWATER — Nicholas Senn High School showed off a facelift to its athletic facilities just ahead of the fall season.
The sprawling Far North Side school at 5900 N. Glenwood Ave. was chosen by CPS to receive a $100,000 gift from the charitable wing of UnitedHealthcare, in partnership with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation.
About 80 volunteers helped with the rapid rehab Wednesday and Thursday of Senn’s weight room, physical education classroom, coaches office and teachers lounge.
The revamped weight room now has six racks and benches, four rowers, four wind bikes, three pylo boxes, TRX bands, a black turf, upgrades to its plates, dumbbells, weighted balls, kettle bells, white boards, school decals and a “Monster Rig” in the middle of it all.
The school’s physical education room has 18 new rolling tables and 36 new rolling chairs for a flexible classroom for health and driver’s education courses, said Chris Rubright, vice president of programs and grants for the Ripken Foundation. The coaches office and teachers lounge will also be fashioned with new furniture.
The effort is part of the collaboration’s “Team8 Tour,” which has been sprucing up athletic facilities at underserved city schools across the country since 2016, said Sarah Ball, senior program manager with UnitedHealthcare. Austin College & Career Academy High School’s weight room and dance studio previously received Team8 Tour renovations in 2018.
Senn’s new digs will support the school’s 500 student-athletes across 27 teams and 20 sports, Athletic Director Steven Brewer said.
The weight room will be also tapped for physical education classes, Brewer said. Any of the school’s 1,500-plus students are also welcome to use the weight room any time, as long as they have staff supervision, Brewer said.
“Our sports programs are gaining momentum and this weight room is a real game-changer,” Brewer said. “Senn is unique in the realm of having all types of students, from all over the world, a big immigrant population, and with these new facilities we hope to better encourage everyone to take the opportunity to be part of a larger team.”
Senn Principal Holly Dacres said she “started crying” when she found out her school was selected for the new weight room, which previously had limited, aging equipment. A former student-athlete told Dacres the upgrade gives Senn the equivalent of a college athletic facility, she said.
And it will give kids the chance to have more of their needs met inside the safety of school walls, Dacres said.
“They fixed up and scrubbed this place down to the floor,” Dacres said. “All this helps us show student how much we value them. It’s an investment that’s going to invest in them.”
More photos from Senn’s athletic renovations below:
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