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New fieldhouse will offer much-needed spaces to meet growing demand for indoor programming in the Washington Heights Community

The Chicago Park District, in partnership with 21st Ward Alderman Ronnie L. Mosley, and 27th District Representative Justin Slaughter, will build a new fieldhouse at Jackie Robinson Park (10540 S. Morgan St.) to replace the existing Chicago Public Schools single-floor annex building that has been vacant since the 2010s. The new safe space will accommodate the community’s growing demand for diverse, year-round programming for multi-generational park visitors.

Chicago Park District representatives will present the designs for the new building at a virtual meeting on Wednesday, January 17 at 6 p.m. These concepts were developed by Booth Hansen, the architecture firm contracted by the Park District, with community and stakeholder feedback received during the first community engagement meeting. 

“A new fieldhouse is a meaningful addition to any community that acts as an anchor for personal enrichment, wellness, creative development, recreation, and socialization,” said Chicago Park District Superintendent & CEO Rosa Escareño. “With support from our local elected officials, the Park District is empowered to build places like the Jackie Robinson Park fieldhouse that address community needs, contribute to the betterment of quality of life of our residents and help strengthen our neighborhoods.” 

A $15 million State of Illinois, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) grant supported by Rep. Slaughter will bring the much-anticipated addition to the 12.3-acre park, located in the Washington Heights neighborhood. The new 18,000 sq. ft. fieldhouse will feature a compact and efficient design with welcoming entrances to connect the building to the adjacent park, Mt. Vernon Elementary School and the recently opened Nature Play Space. 

“I am excited for this much-anticipated project to get underway, and equally as enthusiastic about working with our neighborhood residents and the Chicago Park District to finalize the designs and the details that will make the Jackie Robinson Park Fieldhouse a welcoming space for everyone, from toddlers to seniors,” said 21st Ward Alderman Ronnie Mosley. “At this second community meeting, I look forward to discussing how this new amenity will help address some of the needs of the Washington Heights neighborhood.” 

“This effort represents a major revitalization initiative in our community. We are very excited to honor Jackie Robinson's legacy while also providing a great recreational space for our youth. The new field house and campus will serve as a beacon of inspiration to our children and will be a significant asset to the neighborhood,” said 27th District Representative Justin Slaughter.

The new fieldhouse will include a full-sized gymnasium, two multipurpose clubrooms, a fitness center, a teen room, a pantry, restrooms, offices, lobby, and storage space. Start of construction is projected for Summer 2024. The project is slated to be complete by late Summer 2025. 

Additional fieldhouse and park landscape improvement features include the following:             

  • The indoor multi-purpose gymnasium will include a full-size basketball court and with retractable bleachers. 
  • The two multipurpose clubrooms will serve as a meeting space for community use and for Park Kids after-school programming. 
  • The adjacent pantry/kitchen will allow for food preparation for lunch as well as catering services for rentals. 
  • The fitness/wellness center will feature new multi-generational equipment. 
  • The teen center will allow space for teens to engage in enriching recreation and educational activities year-round.
  • The building will be designed to be sustainable and efficient with low maintenance and durable materials. 
  • The site will be landscaped with some hardscape and lawn area surrounding the building.
  • The outdoor basketball court and volleyball court will be relocated on site.
  • Other fieldhouse features will be presented at the community meeting attendees for residents’ consideration and feedback.