UChicago Charter School provides hard hat tours of new high school in Woodlawn
The University of Chicago Charter School gave Woodlawn residents and other interested parties a preview of its new school building, at 6300 S. Woodlawn Ave., with a series of hard hat tours on May 23. More than 30 people attended the four tours, which were led by 10 charter school students, primarily 11th and 12th graders.
Damon Warren, director of technology for all four UChicago Charter School campuses, is managing construction of the new high school. He said there is a lot of community interest in the building, and the time was right to invite neighbors to see it. “The people taking the tours included individuals who didn’t know this is going to be our school, as well as those who have supported us since before we broke ground. They were equally excited to see it coming to fruition.”
To prepare the students, the Office of Civic Engagement arranged for Jason Pallas, manager of community engagement and arts learning at the Smart Museum, to do an on-site training on how to lead a tour. The most important tip: “be yourself.”
“They clearly care about their school, its future, and how it’s perceived in the community, and were interested, active and attentive,” said Pallas. “They asked questions, shared their personalities, and formed a supportive learning community. To an individual, they are bright, intelligent, unique students who I am certain will have successful futures.”
One of the tour guides was Cierra Wilson, a 10th grader, who describes herself as a natural-born leader who is confident speaking in front of people. “It was cool to get a sneak peek of the school, and to see it grow into a place I will spend the rest of my high school career,” Wilson said. “I’m looking forward to seeing all the students’ reactions when they come in for the first time.”
Construction of the new school is approximately 80 percent complete. The foundation, superstructure, and exterior masonry are done. The electricity was turned on at the end of May, which will allow for installation of electrical, plumbing, and mechanical infrastructure. The visual aspects of the project that remain to be completed include the installation of the “green” roof over the gymnasium, interior finishes, and landscaping. The building is on schedule to open in January 2018, when students return from their holiday break.
The UChicago Charter School-Woodlawn Campus serves sixth to 12th grade students from Woodlawn and surrounding neighborhoods. When completed, the new facility will have technology-equipped classrooms, engineering and science labs, a media arts space, an athletic field and a college resource center. The building also will be available for community use.
Originally posted June 9, 2017.