Evanston Township High School students will begin the 2019-20 school year with a completely renovated Wellness & Performance Center, thanks largely to a pledge from alumnus Michael B. Arrington.

A former varsity football player and member of the Class of 1961, Arrington pledged $330,000 to the ETHS Foundation to support a new strength and conditioning center at the high school.

The facility, to be named the Michael B. Arrington Wellness & Performance Center, will serve all ETHS students who take physical education classes and participate in sports training programs.

Michael B. Arrington.

The ETHS Foundation announced the funding initiative this school year to replace an outdated weight room with a center that is equipped to serve students with varied physical abilities and a wide range of strength, size, and biomechanical differences.

Designed with school pride in mind, the center will have an open floor plan and will feature modern, adaptable cardio equipment and training stations. “All of us at ETHS are truly grateful to Mike Arrington,” said District 202 Superintendent Eric Witherspoon. “His generosity will benefit all students as we expand our wellness and athletic opportunities.”

In conjunction with opening the new Wellness & Performance Center, the ETHS PE Department is enhancing curriculum for next school year and working to meet equity goals.

A strength and conditioning specialist at ETHS will work in tandem with physical education teachers and coaches on individualized fitness plans for each student, allowing for differentiated instruction and adaptations for all learners, including those with disabilities.

Also, more than 200 ETHS students are enrolled in Sports Specific Training, a new PE option for athletes who want to take their athletic performance to the next level.

“I’m honored to provide this gift to my alma mater,” Arrington, an entrepreneur and real estate investor who founded Arrington Travel in 1969 said in a statement.

Arrington’s company grew to have $223 million in annual air sales by the time it was acquired by Navigant International in 1998. Navigant in turn was acquired by Carlson Wagonlit Travel in 2006.

“The new facility will without a doubt be the finest high school facility of its kind in Illinois,” he added. “It will allow ETHS athletes, as well as the entire student body, an opportunity to achieve optimum results for peak performance.”

ETHS Athletic Director Chris Livatino said, “The new Michael B. Arrington Wellness & Performance Center may be the most significant facility improvement we’ve ever made towards increasing the performance of all of our athletic programs at ETHS.”

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