One of the largest charter school networks in Chicago is beginning construction on a massive, multi-million dollar campus located in the Southwest Side neighborhood of Gage Park. The United Neighborhood Organization, or UNO, is using part of a $98 million state grant to build a soccer academy that includes a charter elementary school, a high school, and a soccer stadium.
"We're going to be using soccer--because it's the sport of our community--as the hook to encourage kids to not only learn, but to also learn how to be healthy and have healthy lifestyles," says Juan Rangel, the chief executive officer of UNO.
Rangel says he hopes the campus will not only help alleviate school overcrowding, but become an anchor for the city's Latino community. The first phase of the campus--an elementary school for nearly 600 students--is expected to be completed next year.