Matteson School District 162 was in need of a Field House facility as they previously rented space in the nearby Richton Park Community Center for physical education classes. The school previously did not have anywhere to go for large school events either. For larger school and community events, a retractable, movable bleacher bank at one end of the gym is relocated to make room for a portable stage area complete with a full-height curtain backdrop, theatrical lighting and sound system. Southland College Preparatory now has the ability to host athletic events, graduation ceremonies, holiday concerts, programs and special meetings.
The 36,000 SF athletic field house features a main gym with full-size competition basketball and volleyball courts, a four-sided digital scoreboard, locker rooms, a fitness room, two classrooms, lobby area and elevator, and concessions. A running track suspended from the roof encircles the perimeter of the main courts at the second floor. Bleachers on either side of the main courts provide seating for athletic competitions. The bleachers retract against the walls to allow for additional physical education stations.
Southland Prep marks the first free public charter school in suburban Chicago. Dr. Blondean Y. Davis, Superintendent of Matteson School District 162, was instrumental in conceptualizing the unique school, which places an emphasis on innovation, community involvement, collaboration and high academic standards for all students.