News about 53rd St. in Hyde Park, Chicago

High School Architecture Students Visit 53rd Street

Two construction sites on 53rd Street served as an extended classroom last week for 30 students from King College Prep High School. The students, from the school’s Architecture and Engineering class, donned hard hats to tour the Harper Court development and The New 400 Theaters site.

UChicago’s Commercial Real Estate Office hosted the students, who spent Thursday morning talking to an architect and a developer working on the 53rd Street projects.

“Our goal is to expose them to all of the careers involved in property development—from the architects and developers to the construction crew or lawyers who work on zoning,” said Jonathan Dennis, a project manager for the University’s Commercial Real Estate Operations. “Then they can find out what they gravitate to.”

The high schoolers are focusing on architectural drawings in their class at King College Prep, which is part of the University’s Neighborhood Schools Program.

“Hearing from the developer helped them make a connection between the drawings they are doing and an overall development project,” said Shaz Rasul, director of the Neighborhood Schools Program.

Thursday’s tour was the second time King students had visited 53rd Street since development began. A group toured the theater site last year when construction began, and some of those same students returned last week.

“It’s exciting to bring students in to see different stages of development,” Dennis said. “The next time they see the theater, they will probably be going to a movie there.”

The New 400 Theaters is expected to open in November.

After the construction site tours, the students and their chaperones ate lunch at Clarke's restaurant, which opened in February.

Photo by Beth Rooney