Two Charities Propose New West Side High School Campus

The newest high school in Chicago may land in the city’s Lawndale neighborhood.  That’s where Chicago Hope Academy hopes to move its operations, and establish an athletic campus for its students, and the community.

Also involved in the project is the Chicago Lions Charitable Association, which says it, “fosters and promotes rugby sports competition more broadly among the general populations.”

The location of Chicago Hope Academy's proposed athletic fields ①, high school ②, and supplemental parking lot ③.
The location of Chicago Hope Academy’s proposed athletic fields ①, high school ②, and supplemental parking lot ③.

The plan is to put up a high school for Chicago Hope on the southern portion of the property between West Polk and West Taylor Streets, just west of the Union Pacific railroad embankment.  The athletic facilities would be one block north, across from Altgeld Park. The two blocks would be joined by a mid-block crosswalk across Polk.

You may recognize the northern block as already being pretty sporty.  It’s currently kitted out with a Quest gymnasium, an outdoor running track, and a general purpose athletic field.  The new plan will include two athletic fields (fake grass, boo!), and a fieldhouse.  One of those fields may get a seasonal doming so that the kiddies can practice thought the winter months.  Quest will continue working there.

Currently, Chicago Hope has 230 students, 20 teachers, and a score of staffers.  The student body count could increase to 600 in the new facility.  The zoning application also mentions that a number of other organizations are welcome to athletic support, including the Near West Side Little League, and “neighborhood and volunteer driven leagues, coordinated by the CLCA/CHA managers.  Youth rugby and soccer leagues are also envisioned in conjunction with Rugby Illinois, Chicago Wapiti Rugby clubs, AYSO and other soccer organizations.”

But it won’t be just footie and the front row going all Garry Owen on this pitch. The project includes a dog park, a community garden, a playground, and space for pickleball courts, tennis courts, basketball courts, and batting cages.

The two charities think this is a good location for a high school, in part, because it would serve as a buffer between the residential neighborhood to the west, and the industrial area to the east.  Technically, the high school would be inside the boundaries of the Western/Ogden Industrial Corridor, which is currently significantly less industrious than it once was.

  • Address: 731-799 South Washtenaw Avenue
  • Address: 2605-59 West Harrison Avenue
  • Zoning: M1-1 and C1-2 → C3-1 → IPD
  • High school size: 148,836 square feet
  • Number of students: 600
  • Automobile parking: 612 spaces on-site, 325 in a new lot across Taylor Street

Location: 731 South Washtenaw Avenue, Lawndale

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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