School's out for...ever at old Kennedy-King College

May 25, 2010


(photo by Lee Bey)

Demolition is going on full-tilt at the massive old Kennedy King College campus at 69th and Wentworth. Aw, don't act so surprised about the building being torn down. I told you about it earlier this year.

The Brutalist concrete college once straddled Wentworth Avenue, much like the Old Main Post Office does at the mouth of the Eisenhower Expressway. But as you can see from the above photo, the wings on the west side of Wentworth are gone now, leaving behind rubble and upturned dirt. On the east side of‚  the avenue, workers have pretty much stripped the structure bare, exposing concrete columns and walls as a prelude to ultimately clearing that site as well:  

 


(photo by Lee Bey)


(photo by Lee Bey)


(photo by Lee Bey)

As I said here in January, the campus--built in 1972 for $31.1 million and designed by the now-defunct Fitch, Larocca, Carrington & Jones--won a Certificate of Merit award by the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Named for Robert F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the college had an indoor competition-sized swimming pool, a daycare center, two theaters and a library built to hold 50,000 volumes.
Today, portions of the building that bridge Wentworth are the only recognizable sections of the structure still standing--for now. And you can still drive and walk beneath them for the time being. I walked the site twice over the weekend; it's like passing through a ruin. And if you are tall enough to look over the construction fences, the view of the demolition is fascinating.