EAST VILLAGE — Next year, student athletes at Wells High School will no longer play rugby, baseball and other team sports on a concrete "field."
After years of anticipation, the East Village neighborhood high school at 936 N. Ashland Ave. will begin construction on the new ball field on May 13.
Wells' principal Rita Raichoudhuri announced the news to members of the East Village Association on Monday night at its monthly gathering, according to the neighborhood group.
"We're very excited to see it finally come to fruition. I think it will be a great asset for the school and the community," Michael VanDam, president of the East Village Association, said on Tuesday morning.
Dubbed "Field of Hope," the field is scheduled to be completed before Labor Day weekend, in time for next year's school year.
Currently, the school only has a large patch of concrete outside — one that has been described as "a pitiful, pitiful concrete jungle" by Ald. Joe Moreno (1st). Athletes are forced to make do; members of the rugby club, for example, do push-ups outside on a sidewalk behind the school.
The plan to build a new field was introduced in 2012 and fell through in 2015. But last spring, CPS announced that it would spend $6.5 million to build new athletic fields at Wells and Clemente High Schools.
The new athletic fields will offer a number of amenities, like new dugouts, bleachers, press boxes, scoreboards and public address systems.
Fans can keep updated on celebrations for the groundbreaking and ribbon cutting on the Wells Community Facebook page.
Rendering of the ballfield. [Provided]