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updated: 9/7/2012 9:19 AM

Wheaton parks OKs Hubble renovation

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  • Wheaton park officials OK'd a $2 million contract to renovate a portion of the shuttered Hubble Middle School.

    Wheaton park officials OK'd a $2 million contract to renovate a portion of the shuttered Hubble Middle School.
    Daily Herald file photo


The Wheaton Park District has awarded a roughly $2 million contract to a construction company to renovate a portion of the former Hubble Middle School site.

The district board of commissioners this week unanimously approved the $2.2 million contract with Palatine-based Bergen Construction. In a separate 6-1 vote, the board also agreed to pay Bergen, the low bidder for the project, a $30,000 bonus if the company substantially completes the work by Jan. 1.

"It allows us the best of all worlds because we get most of our winter programming in, and we get the job done earlier," park district Executive Director Mike Benard said.

The project will make an almost 50,000-square-foot section of the former school that contains three gymnasiums a stand-alone building and upgrade lighting and plumbing. The work is expected to begin Sept. 17, Benard said.

The highly visible property on the corner of Roosevelt and Naperville roads generates a "conservative" estimate of just under 100,000 indoor and outdoor user hours per year, Benard said.

The contract marks one of the first formal steps to overhaul a long-coveted area of the property. For over a year, park officials have been collaborating with Bradford Equities LLC, the Chicago-based developer that plans to bring a Mariano's Fresh Market grocery store to the site.

As part of an agreement with Bradford, the park district will buy the portion of the building that contains the gyms for $3.25 million. The district will use reserve funds, Benard said, and a federal grant administered by the state Department of Natural Resources will reimburse 75 percent of the purchase.

The deal is expected to close Friday, simultaneously with the expected closing of the sale of the old Hubble property, Benard said. Last summer, Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 officials announced Bradford would buy the 22-acre property for $5 million.

In addition, Bradford will donate a parcel of the open land that lies in a flood plain for district recreational purposes. The district will swap a corner of the Central Park property -- just west of Hubble -- to gain control of Bradford's open space at the southwest corner of the school property.

Also Monday, the board approved an agreement with Bradford that allows the developer to make changes to the Central Park site to bring a potential tenant to the property, including restoring two tennis courts and razing the former district administrative building.

The district is losing two tennis courts, a playground and two sand volleyball courts at the site, Benard added.

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