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City to build new $1.8M field for Hancock College Prep on Southwest Side

The field will include space for football, soccer and softball games and will have a two-lane walking track surrounding it, as well as bleachers for spectators.

A new artificial turf field is planned for the Clearing community near a new Hancock College Prep school building.
A new artificial turf field is planned for the Clearing community near a new Hancock College Prep school building.
Chicago Board of Education

A new artificial turf field is set to be built on the Southwest Side to go along with a brand new school building for Hancock College Prep, one of Chicago Public Schools’ 11 selective enrollment high schools.

Construction on the $1.8 million field is due to start next spring, with a fall 2021 completion targeted, a Chicago Park District official said Tuesday. Costs will be evenly split between the Park District, CPS and City Council.

The Board of Education is expected to approve an agreement with the Park District at its monthly meeting Wednesday that gives CPS joint usage rights for 20 years. The contract would see CPS pay up to $500,000 for construction, use, maintenance and repair.

Lawler Park, located at 5210 W. 64th St., Tuesday Sept. 22, 2020. Lawler Park is slated to be turned into a artificial athletic field for Hancock College Prep.
Lawler Park, located at 5210 W. 64th St., Tuesday Sept. 22, 2020. Lawler Park is slated to be turned into a artificial athletic field for Hancock College Prep.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The field, which will be open to the public, will include space for football, soccer and softball games and will have a two-lane walking track surrounding it, as well as bleachers for spectators. It’ll be built at Lawler Park with the boundaries of 63rd and 64th Streets on the north and south, and Leclaire and Latrobe Avenues on the east and west.

That’s a couple blocks away from the new three-story Hancock school building, which broke ground in April 2019 and is under construction at 5437 W. 64th Place.

The construction site for the new Hancock College Prep located at 5437 West 64th Place, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020.
The construction site for the new Hancock College Prep located at 5437 West 64th Place, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

While the school converted to selective enrollment in 2015, stakeholders at Hancock had long raised concerns about poor infrastructure at its current building at 4034 W. 56th St., including leaky roofs, broken floors and poor heating, cooling and ventilation.

Hancock is a predominantly Latino school that serves a little over 1,000 students. Its new building, also on track to open fall of 2021 directly adjacent to Midway Airport, will be about three miles southwest of its current location, and will move the school from the West Elsdon neighborhood to the Clearing community.

“Today, we broke ground on the new state of the art facility and doubled down on our commitment to students and families on the southwest side of Chicago,” CPS CEO Janice Jackson wrote on Twitter in April 2019 at the ground breaking ceremony.

The construction site for the new Hancock College Prep located at 5437 West 64th Place, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020.
The construction site for the new Hancock College Prep located at 5437 West 64th Place, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times