UNO Sets New Standard

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

UNO Soccer Academy celebrates its grand opening on the southwest side of Chicago on Thursday, Sept. 15. Among the attendees were Governor Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, State Senator Martin Sandoval, and CEO of UNO Juan Rangel.

In front of a crowd of hundreds of parents, teachers, students, and community leaders, UNO Soccer Academy Charter Elementary School opened its doors to fireworks and live music in Chicago’s southwest side on Thursday, Sept. 15. “This school project is a model of what can happen across the city and state,” said Juan Rangel, the CEO of UNO. “This school was built in record time, record minority and women contracting participation and for a lesser cost than most public buildings. UNO wants to set a new standard for school construction.”

Among the attendees were Governor Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, State Senator Martin Sandoval, and Alderman Edward Burke, who all praised Rangel’s efforts in addressing the overcrowding issue mostly experienced in the southwest community. “These leaders care deeply about the success of every child. They understand that success begins with a quality education,” said Rangel. “UNO is committed to that principle.”

The UNO Soccer Academy will integrate soccer into the school’s curriculum as a way of enhancing student attendance and increasing parental involvement in the academic success of each child. “This school will help alleviate a troubling overcrowding problem on the southwest side and bring a quality option to parents and their children,” said Rangel.

UNO’s innovative new 63,000-square-foot building, hired nearly 400 workers and according to Rangel, about 81 of the workers were previously unemployed. Funding received for the project was part of a $98 million state of Illinois grant. Over 46 percent of firms that worked on the school’s construction were minority-owned businesses and 10 percent were female-owned businesses. UNO Soccer Academy opened on Sept. 6. Its enrollment is currently at 575 children in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade. Since its opening, the school’s enrollment has been 99 percent. If you would like to learn more about UNO Soccer Academy, visit

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