Michelle Obama Athletic Complex opens at Whitney Young High School

ByMeghan Kluth via WLS logo
Monday, August 12, 2019
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Whitney Young High School cut the ribbon on the new Michelle Obama Athletic Complex Monday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new West Loop sports complex is honoring the former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Monday Whitney M. Young Magnet High School cut the ribbon on the new Michelle Obama Athletic Complex and the community celebrated with a block party.

The $4.8 million complex took about four years to complete. School principal Dr. Joyce Kenner said the field has been in the making for the last 10-15 years, adding how much of a privilege it is to name it after their most esteemed alum -- the former First Lady.

"It's important to me because she really embodies staying fit and being involved," said Principal Kenner, "and then she was so excited about us presenting the idea to her."

Michelle Obama graduated from Whitney Young in 1981, and her friends and classmates couldn't be more proud.

Many of them said they remember her as being on the dance team in high school and playing basketball often with her brother. They also said they are proud of her mission to spread the message of the importance a healthy life style.

"She was always very active, so I'm not surprised they would want to name the facility after her," said classmate Michelle Martin.

While the former First Lady wasn't able to attend the event because she is out of town, ABC 7 Chicago was told she's very excited about the new complex here.

The Michelle Obama athletic complex was funded by tax-increment financing dollar, and replaced the old field that only had a baseball diamond.

The field is equipped for soccer, football, baseball, softball, lacrosse and track fields so the students and community can stay fit.

The prestigious CPS selective enrollment school is 44 years old. Alumni and community members said the new facility is long overdue.

Organizers are expecting nearly 1,000 people to come out and celebrate. The block party includes music, food trucks, wiffle ball home-run derby and a soccer shootout. The festivities will continue until 3 p.m.