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Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined Chicago Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz and President & CEO John McDonough, Rush University Medical Center CEO Dr. Larry Goodman, City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Cheryl Hyman and Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr. to announce a redevelopment plan for the old Malcolm X College located at 1900 West Van Buren Street. The plan includes repurposing the site for a new Blackhawks training facility and expansion of Rush University Medical Center’s academic facilities. These investments are part of more than $475 million in public and private investment in Chicago’s Near West Side.
“Soon Malcolm X will get a new 21st century campus to complement the 21st century education they provide and a site that used to serve one of Chicago’s community colleges will soon serve as a community anchor, bringing even more economic opportunity to the Near West Side,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This plan creates a permanent home for the Blackhawks to train in Chicago and allows Rush University Medical Center, which has already been a great partner with Malcolm X, to expand it campus and further support the people who live and work in this neighborhood.”
With Malcolm X staff, students and operations expected to move into their new facility north of Jackson Boulevard in January 2016, the City has been looking for a reuse opportunity for the original Malcolm X facility. Meanwhile, the City and the Chicago Blackhawks have been in discussion about locating a training facility here in the City that would also provide an important benefit to the community. At the same time, Rush University Medical Center has been working on a plan to address current and future academic needs associated with Rush University.
The state-of-the-art 125,000-square-foot facility will feature two NHL regulation-size ice surfaces and will be located two blocks south of the United Center on a four-acre site currently housing Malcolm X College. The Blackhawks will spend approximately $50 million on the privately funded project.
A significant amount of ice time at the new training center will be reserved for community and youth activities including programming and training clinics for hockey, figure skating and other ice events. In addition to practices for both the Blackhawks and visiting NHL teams, the facility will offer open-skate ice times and community events, including hockey and figure skate rentals, programs in partnership with the Chicago Park District and dedicated to serving underprivileged youth, ice rentals for adult and youth recreation leagues, and local, national, international, collegiate and amateur tournament play.
“Hockey’s future is dictated by the ability of kids to get on the ice,” Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz said. “For those in urban areas like Chicago, that’s an incredible challenge. We want to provide our community the opportunity to learn how to skate and help them develop a love and passion for the sport that has brought so much joy to Chicago and the region these past few years.”
“The addition of a Blackhawks training and community facility is another step in the progress and advancement of our franchise as we continue to strive for consistent excellence both on and off the ice,” said Blackhawks President & CEO John McDonough.
Chicago Blackhawks Charities, the team’s philanthropic arm, will oversee year-round programs and clinics at the training center for the city’s underprivileged youth, ensuring the project’s community benefits extend to those who would otherwise be unable to cover the costs of ice time, equipment and transportation. Since its inception in October 1993, Chicago Blackhawks Charities has contributed over $14 million to local non-profit organizations, including over $2 million over the past year to 28 community organizations that focus on health and wellness, education and housing.
While specific plans and timetables are still being developed, Rush anticipates using the site primarily for academic purposes. Enrollment in the University’s four colleges has doubled over the last 10 years, reaching nearly 2,500 students. Rush wants to ensure that its students and faculty have an exceptional environment and campus experience, and even more innovative partnerships with community organizations and institutions.
“Since Rush University opened nearly 45 years ago, the way students are educated has changed dramatically. We need to invest in facilities and technology to support new models of education, while considering the experiential needs of current and future students and faculty,” said Dr. Larry Goodman, Rush CEO and president of Rush University.
This new site also will allow for enhanced collaboration between Rush and Malcom X College that will enable both organizations to strengthen their four year partnership. This has included career-ladder opportunities for Malcolm X students, clinical rotations at Rush University Medical Center for Malcolm X students and faculty development opportunities at Rush University for Malcolm X faculty.
“We deeply value Malcolm X College as an academic and community partner that has been working jointly with Rush to help educate the next generation of health care professionals and advance educational and economic opportunities for young Chicagoans,” said Rush’s Dr. Goodman
Rush University Medical Center’s campus investments over the last ten years have included a state-of-the-art new hospital that has helped it to transform care. During this time, it has added nearly 1,200 jobs on the Westside campus.
The City will be responsible for getting the site ready before work can begin. After operations move to the new Malcolm X campus, Chicago City College will transfer the property to the City in January. Following that, the Public Buildings Commission will begin demo and remediation with the idea that the purchase agreement finalized in early spring 2016.
“I'm thrilled that the new Blackhawks training facility will be a part of the 27th Ward and that the community will benefit from the use of the ice and activities,” said Alderman Walter Burnett (27th Ward). "This will bring more people to the area and help generate even more development."
The Eisenhower Corridor, which includes the Near West Side, is one of seven “opportunity areas” identified as part of the Chicago Neighborhoods Now (CNN) initiative that is coordinating new economic development, housing, and quality of life improvements across seven Chicago communities.
The area has experienced over $475 million in planned and completed investments that include improvements along the Blue Line, development of the Chicago Bulls Training Facility and the Union Park fieldhouse, the Union Park and Starr Park playgrounds, Pete’s Fresh Market and additional streetscape and resurfacing projects. Across the neighborhood, projects are creating more than 5,300 permanent and temporary construction jobs, strengthening economic development and attracting new retail.
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