District 228 Unveils New Field Houses and More!

District 228 Unveils New Field Houses!
By: Jacquelyn Schlabach, Tinley Junction
Source: Click here. 

On Aug. 14, it was a great day to be a Titan. 

Well, according to Tinley Park High School Principal Theresa Nolan, every day is a great day to be a Titan.

Community members, District 228 board members, Tinley Park Chamber of Commerce members and students gathered for the unveiling of the approximately $19 million field house that features three basketball courts, an indoor track, a weight room and athletic training and health rooms.

“Now couple our academic successes with these amazing facilities and I think you can see why it’s a great time to be a Titan,” Nolan said during her opening remarks of the ribbon cutting for the new facility Aug. 14. 

The project, made possible through a quality school construction bond from the federal government, took about three years to be completed, according to D228 Superintendent Bill Kendall. In addition to TPHS, Hillcrest, Oak Forest and Bremen also had construction projects, totaling $74 million among all four schools. 

“A couple things that you need to remember [is] Tinley is a wonderful place but it’s one of four schools. So we’ve done this at four campuses on time and under budget, which is ridiculously unheard of,” Kendall said to the crowd. 

The district was approved for the bond at the end of 2015 and Kendall said that in order to qualify, they had to create a plan and fit the specified guidelines

“This was the best that we could do with the money we had,” he said. “You just apply for it and then they approve you. We had to fit their criteria and maximize it as much as possible.”

The construction for TPHS started with the addition of a turf football field in 2016. The first process, according to Kendall, was to create drainage under the turf to build the buildings. 

“We’re just really proud that we can give the opportunity to the community so that makes us all happy,” Kendall said. “And to do it times four schools, so we’re really proud of it. There’s a lot of people that put a lot of work into it.”

Nolan said that she feels “goosebumps” seeing the field house completed. 

“I’m so amazed that this beautiful structure is part of Tinley Park High School, which has been such a big part of not just my work life but my school life, my growing up life,” she said. “It’s something that I think that our kids and our staff and our community deserve something nice like this and to celebrate with.”

According to Nolan, the last time TPHS had any sort of construction done was in 2002 when the building got new windows and air conditioning. 

“Those two were like the big deal,” Nolan said. “We were living large with windows and air conditioners, you know what I mean. I laugh at saying that [with what we have now], because that wasn’t living large, this is living large.”

The biggest impact the new facilities will have on students and coaches, Nolan said, is that there will be room for everyone to practice.

“Everybody will be able to practice after school and get home at a reasonable time to hopefully do homework, spend time with their family and have a little bit of a life instead of driving back and forth to practices or getting up extraordinarily early to come for a practice,” she said.

Previously, practices would start at 5 a.m. and go all the way until 10 p.m. because “there weren’t enough facilities for all levels to have a gym to themselves.”

Athletic Director Mike Mongan said that in his 14 years at TPHS, he never thought in his “wildest dreams that this was going to happen nor be possible.”

Now that there are “state of the art” facilities, Mongan said that student-athletes who have transferred to private schools in the past because of a lack of amenities will no longer have to do that.

“There’s no private school that they’re going to go to that has the facilities we have now,” he said. “You can’t name a private school that has these facilities. People have moved publicly from our side of Harlem east to west to go to those better facilities. They really don’t have to do that anymore, it’s right in their backyard.”

In addition to student-athletes using the field house, physical education classes will likely use it 90 percent of the time, Mongan said.

Senior football player Jojairo Gallegos was at the ribbon cutting and unveiling of the new field house and said it’s a “whole different feeling” seeing the new building.

“I feel like having more equipment just makes you better,” he said. “What we used to have is good, but now we just got a college-level kind of facility. It’s going to make us play at an even higher level than we [did].”

Basketball player and sophomore transfer Andre Casey said that everybody is just smiling and happy to have the new addition.

“It’s going to be very, very nice to use because it’s like you can build so much [on] whatever you need to do for any athlete or anybody who feels they need to work on something,” Casey said. “It’s a nice expansion to the students.”

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