District 214 and the Arlington High School alumni are scheduled to host three consecutive Mid-Suburban East varsity boys basketball games at Grace Gymnasium on Friday, starting at 4:30 p.m.
The district has an agreement to play the game at 502 Euclid in Arlington Heights, where Christian Liberty Academy is now the owner. Christian Liberty opened a few years after Arlington closed in 1984 due to declining enrollment.
In addition to the many great Arlington Cardinals teams that played in the historic gym, Grace has long been a cherished spot for the sport. The Chicago Bulls played a preseason game there in the 1970s, and numerous grade school programs have used the facility for practice, in addition to the current Chargers programs.
"I think it will be an exciting night for our team, the school district and the administrators," said Wheeling coach Michael O'Keeffe. "Several family members of our current basketball team were students at Arlington. It gives people a chance to come back to Grace Gym to witness high school basketball."
The admission fee, which covers all three games, will be $5 for adults. Students from the district will be admitted free of charge.
Buffalo Grove and Wheeling will start the festivities at 4:30 p.m., followed by Rolling Meadows vs. Elk Grove at 6 p.m. and a finale of Prospect versus Hersey at 7:30 p.m.
"I'm a history buff," said Prospect coach John Camardella. "To play and coach on that floor is very exciting for us. We had a scrimmage in the early fall there, when the school district hosted an all-year reunion for the Arlington graduates. Our players are excited to play there."
Before the Prospect-Hersey game, in which Prospect will be trying to clinch an outright East Division championship, the Arlington 1981-1982 team that was an Elite Eight finalist will be honored.
Arlington was District 214's first high school, and the longest-operating school in the district when schools such as Forest View and Hersey opened.
"This night will have a different feel to it," said Buffalo Grove coach Keith Peterson. "To me and our players, it will be something in between a home game and a holiday tournament. The players are excited for the different environment that they will be playing in. Quite a few of our players played in Grace Gym when they were in grade school. It will have a different atmosphere than just a regular-season game.
"We're hoping that there is a good group of people who come there to enjoy the evening."
The festive night will also serve as a fund-raiser, as Arlington T-shirts will be available for $15. Those dollars will go toward the Cardinal Endowment Foundation fund for District 214 student success, which supports student development and innovation throughout the district.
Over 800 alumni participated in the September reunion, when The Cardinal Fund was launched. The fund provides for Advanced Placement testing and early career credentials for District 214 students.