Hales Franciscan High School, one of Chicago’s premier academic institutions, has placed a portion of its land up for sale. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, the western part of the Hales Franciscan campus has been put on sale for $7.5 million. This area consists of 3.9 acres and includes the football stadium. The eastern portion of the campus, where the school stands, is not on the market.
The College Preparatory School, known simply as Hales, has been a pillar of the community since its establishment in 1962. Rich with cultural tradition and impressive alumni, Hales has been educating and infusing pride into students since its inception. Most commonly referred to as an all-male institution, the school went co-ed in 2013 to boost enrollment but closed in 2016. In 2017, it reopened its doors again, an all-male school. Over the past few years, the school has suffered because of declining enrollment and financial challenges. Currently, the Hales campus also serves as home to Bronzeville Academy, a school holding classes for grades K through 8.
A Land of Opportunity!
Located at 4930 S. Cottage Grove Avenue, Hales is nestled on a prime piece of real estate in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville community, a very appealing area for real estate investors and developers. The surrounding landmarks include McCormick Place, the lakefront, Washington Park, and the Hyde Park community. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, zoning laws would allow the available acres to be developed into single-family homes, townhouses, two-flats, and multi-unit apartment buildings. The Bronzeville campus represents one of the most significant parcels of land to become available in recent years.
Toby Minett spoke emotionally about his loyalty to Hales. Minett began his relationship with Hales not as a student, but as an employee. “I started working at Hales for free in 2009 to help pay the tuition for my two sons to go there,” Minett says.
Minett’s sons, Dami and Bonki graduated from Hales in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Today, he’s paid for the work he puts in there as a part of the school’s building management, but has had his hours reduced drastically because of COVID-19. “Hales doesn’t need to sell that land,” Minett says. “That school has very successful alumni, and we all should be able to put our heads together and consider some other resources to raise money instead of just trying to sell the land.”
Hales Franciscan is one of the few remaining historically African-American, all-male, Catholic college preparatory high schools in the country. “I’m not on the board or anything like that to make decisions; I’m just speaking as a loyal worker and concerned parent.” Minett declares. “I love Hales, and we as African-Americans need to have a school with that kind of tradition in our community!”