Chico: Build arenas for large high school crowds – Chicago Sun-Times

On February 5, 2011, in Latest News, Sports, by nadia

Chico: Build arenas for large high school crowds By Fran Spielman City Hall Reporter Feb 4, 2011 08:29PM Gery Chico Chicago Public Schools should build two or three premier “competition centers” around the city where high school athletes could showcase their talents, mayoral challenger Gery Chico said Friday. A former school board president, Chico has already vowed to insulate sports programs from budget cuts. Now, he wants to create large regional arenas for basketball and other sports after attending a basketball game between Morgan Park and Simeon High Schools that had to be played at Chicago State University.

Chico: Build arenas for large high school crowds

By Fran Spielman
City Hall Reporter

Feb 4, 2011 08:29PM

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Gery Chico


Chicago Public Schools should build two or three premier “competition centers” around the city where high school athletes could showcase their talents, mayoral challenger Gery Chico said Friday.

A former school board president, Chico has already vowed to insulate sports programs from budget cuts.

Now, he wants to create large regional arenas for basketball and other sports after attending a basketball game between Morgan Park and Simeon High Schools that had to be played at Chicago State University.

“They played it at Chicago State because we don’t have enough capacity at a lot of our high school gyms,” Chico said, during a candidates forum hosted by the so-called Healthy Schools Campaign.

“It’s true that this was a very popular game. But, it might not be a bad idea to look at building two or three competition centers in different parts of the city for the Chicago Public Schools so that our students would have the ability to have competitions and even host schools from around the area to come in and play us.”

If elected mayor, Chico said he would also examine the need to renovate and expand high school football stadiums, arguing that those facilities “need attention.”

Candidate Miguel del Valle also appeared at the forum and talked about the need for Chicago Public Schools to restore recess and lengthen the 20-minute period set aside for lunch.

“It is inhumane that we give children 20 minutes for lunch in our schools. That is wrong. How can we talk to children about nutrition and what they eat, then say to them, ‘You’ve got to gobble it down in ten minutes,’” said del Valle, who recalled getting an hour for lunch when he was in school.

Asked what classes he would cut to lengthen lunch periods and restore recess, del Valle said none. Instead, he would lengthen the school day and try to get the federal government to pay for it.

He said it’s time the White House put some money behind First Lady Michelle Obama’s, “Get Moving” campaign to combat childhood obesity.

Candidate Carol Moseley Braun used her appearance before the Healthy Schools Campaign, in part, to explain why she started her now-struggling organic beverage company.

“So many of the foods that we eat are filled with toxic chemicals,” Braun said.

“I’m not a physician. But, I ask the question, ‘How many people in the last generation have you ever heard of with pancreatic cancer?’ Yet now, every time you turn around, there’s somebody else [who] has that ailment. It’s likely to be caused by the chemicals that are used.”

Braun said she’s been told that organic food is “too expensive” to be served by Chicago Public Schools, but she doesn’t believe it.

“If a school system the size of [Chicago] were to turn around and decide to order organic, that would be a huge impetus toward expanding the supply of organic offerings in our food supply—and bring the prices down,” she said.

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