Portillo Center opens Aug. 18 at Argo High

Portillo Center opens Aug. 18 at Argo High

Portillo Center opens Aug. 18 at Argo High

$1 million donation from hot dog chain founder helped fund arts center

By Steve Metsch

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 18 for the $17.6 million Richard and Sharon Portillo Performing Arts Center at Argo Community High School, 7329 W. 63rd St., Summit.

Those who attend will get their first peek inside the new center located on the southwest corner of the main building, near the baseball field.

The 45,000-square-foot building will have an auditorium with 430 seats, a band room, prop shop, a chorale room, and rehearsal and dressing rooms. The red brick exterior was designed to flow nicely with current school buildings.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held on Aug. 18 for the new performing arts center at Argo Community High School in Summit. The new center was made possible thanks in part to a $1 million donation from alumni Richard and Sharon Portillo. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Many of the student groups set to use and perform at the center will be on hand to provide entertainment, officials have said. The school year starts Wednesday for freshmen and Aug. 17 for sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Earlier this summer, Joe Slattery, project executive with the general contractor, IHC Construction Companies LLC, of Elgin, said the project was moving along well, and could finish under budget.

A new security system in the center will allow for all the rooms to be locked remotely in a few seconds in event of an emergency, and officials may install the same system in the main campus.

The project is named for Richard and Sharon Portillo, yes, of the famous Portillo’s restaurant chain. The two met while students at Argo High and fondly recalled those days when their $1 million donation was announced at a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony in July 2016.

During that ceremony, Joe Murphy, business manager for the high school, said the $1 million donation was expected to defray about $8 million in interest paid on loans for the project.

At that ceremony, Dick Portillo, who sold his restaurant chain and now serves as a consultant, said “the school has a lot of memories for us.” He graduated from Argo in 1957 and Sharon in 1960.

Sharon Portillo added: “We are so pleased to make this donation to Argo High School.”

— Desplaines Valley News

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Steve Metsch

Steve Metsch

Steve Metsch is an award winning veteran reporter who previously worked for the Daily Southtown Newspapers, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. Metsch is a writer and editor at the Southwest News Newspaper group based in suburban Chicago, and a freelance writer for a financial newsletter and a health magazine.
Email Steve Metsch at sm4610@sbcglobal.net
Steve Metsch