LAKEVIEW — The new artificial turf field next to Inter-American Magnet School has officially opened.
The field replaces a side lot at 851 W. Waveland Ave. that was a mix of concrete, sod and, as parents like to point out, dirt and mud.
"There was really no safe place for them to play before — it was all concrete or dirty," said Jenny Jones, whose son is in kindergarten at the dual-language school.
"This is an exciting opportunity to think about how many sporting activities or active opportunities they'll have."
Jones was one of a couple dozen parents and community members who gathered at the Lakeview elementary school Monday morning for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
"This most important aspect of the turf field is really the sense of community and the sense of exercise and fitness, not only for students, but for the whole community," Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) said.
Tunney estimates installing the field cost about $750,000. It was paid for with Chicago Public Schools and aldermanic funds. Construction started this summer and concluded earlier this month.
Principal Diego Giraldo said the field will help his school's bilingual mission since gym classes can be held outside. All lessons at Inter-American are taught in English and Spanish.
Giraldo said learning sports vocabulary and commands while playing will help kids pick up language faster.
"It becomes so natural," he said.
The principal credited the field to a group of Inter-American parents who pushed for years to replace the concrete and sod lot.
Mom Damaris Cami, who has kids in kindergarten and second grade, said she's looking forward to having a cleaner playlot.
"I remember last winter how much the kids' clothes got stained with the mud," she said. I watched "one parent, her daughter's boots got stuck in the mud. She pulled her up, and the boots were still there."
This is the second artificial turf field to debut this school year in Lakeview. Construction on a field at Agassiz Elementary School, 2851 N. Seminary Ave., wrapped in August. That project was paid for with CPS and aldermanic funds.
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