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Massive Bronzeville Field House Will Be Ready For Summer Camp

By Sam Cholke | April 1, 2016 6:17am | Updated on April 2, 2016 9:44am
 The new Ellis Park field house is on track to open in late June, in time for summer camps.
Ellis Park Field House Tour
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OAKLAND — The south lakefront neighborhoods are about to get a new pool, basketball court and more as crews work to finish the new Ellis Park field house by the end of the June.

During a tour on Thursday of the 32,000 square foot field house at 35th Street and Cottage Grove, crews showed off the rooftop terrace, fitness center and community rooms.

“This exceeds all my expectations,” Chicago Park District General Supt. Michael Kelly said. “It does look like we grabbed the highlights of the best things we’ve built.”

Arrayed around a large central lobby, the new $17.5 million field house will have a five-lane swimming pool, a gym with six basketball hoops and bleachers, a fitness center outfitted with exercise machines and a community room for summer camps and classes.

“It’s definitely been a cool building to build and it’s got a lot of unique stuff,” said Travis Price, superintendent at McShane Construction, who has promised the building will be done in time for kids' summer camps in July.

The field house will include the park district’s first in indoor pool in Bronzeville. The pool will have a large ramp for better accessibility and an additional family-style locker room solving the problem for dads trying to take their daughters to the pool and get them changed.

The second floor will have a place for families to set up for birthday parties and other events on the rooftop terrace.

“I hate seeing birthday parties go to the suburbs because there is this perception that what they have is better than us — it drives me nuts,” Kelly said.

He said the field house has been in the works for more than a decade, and finally came together through a partnership between Chicago Public Schools, which provided the land, the Chicago Housing Authority, which contributed $8 million, the Quad Communities Development Corp. and other agencies.

Kelly said he feels the park district is now ahead of the curve as Oakland gains more housing and the Lake Meadows project proposes three decades of expansion.

“I don’t know if the South Side has seen this much of a transformation ever,” Kelly said. “This area is going to be completely transformed.”

The new field house is expected to be the first major new facility the park district opens this year when the ribbon is cut in late June.

The rooftop terrace is expected to host birthday parties and other events.

The new five-lane swimming pool will be the park district's first indoor pool in Bronzeville.

The gym will have six basketball hoops and collapsible bleachers.

The Ellis Park field house is expected to open late June, in time for summer camps.

The Ellis Park field house is expected to cost $17.5 million to build.

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