Twenty years ago, officials within the Dundee Township Park District started talking about building a new recreation center. And evidence of those talks has finally come to fruition.
The 53,000-square-foot Randall Oaks Recreation Center will open its doors to the public on Monday, a full month ahead of schedule, said Jim Miller, deputy director of the Dundee Township Park District.
The building, at 500 N. Randall Road in West Dundee, was expected to cost $12.43 million, but came in $250,000 under budget, which means extra money for the district's capital projects budget.
The new rec center offers a double gymnasium, a fitness center with 80 machines, an elevated track, a tuition-based preschool, a group exercise studio, a multipurpose room and a baby-sitting room.
Other perks include locker rooms, a machine that refills water bottles and comfortable bleachers.
Moreover, the Fox River Valley Public Library is leasing space within the building for its new west side branch. You can start checking out books during the branch's grand opening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 25, library director Roxane Bennett said.
Besides books of all types, there will be public computers, DVDs and Blu-ray discs.
"(We're) very excited," Bennett said. "We're as excited as the community. We know this has been highly anticipated."
Miller bills the new recreation center as a complement to its Rakow Center in Carpentersville.
The fitness center at Randall Oaks is 5,500 square feet, three times larger than the one at the Rakow Center. But unlike the Rakow Center, Randall Oaks does not offer a swimming pool, racquetball courts or a day care center.
"We're trying not to compete against ourselves," Miller said.
Staff members -- including 50 new employees hired to work at the center -- and construction workers were putting the finishing touches on the building and unpacking boxes of various equipment.
The district paid for the building with its reserves and Build America Bonds. There were no tax rate increases or referendums involved in the construction of the building, Miller said.
A special grand opening is scheduled 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 25 and will include free health and wellness screenings.
Annual fitness memberships cost $396 for township residents and $480 for others. The township includes the Dundees, Sleepy Hollow, Carpentersville and parts of Elgin, Gilberts and Barrington Hills.