Residents in two DuPage County towns that share a border will be getting recreation centers of their own -- one that's almost ready to open and another that's about a year away.
Officials in West Chicago will break ground this weekend on a planned $15.5 million, 67,000-square-foot recreation center in Reed-Keppler Park that voters authorized in a November 2012 referendum question.
Roughly seven miles away in Carol Stream, finishing touches are being put on the $19 million, 90,846-square-foot Fountain View Recreation Center, expected to open early next month at the Ross Ferraro Town Center at Gary Avenue and Lies Road. It's the marquee project of a $37 million parks improvement program approved by voters in February 2010.
Here's a closer look at both projects:
Construction will begin on the rec center at 129 W. National St. in Reed-Keppler Park following a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday. The center is expected to be complete by the fall of 2014.
The one-story building will feature three gyms, a multipurpose activity court, walking track, fitness center, dance and aerobics studios, and meeting rooms.
It's the largest project in the history of the West Chicago Park District, which currently houses a small fitness center inside an old hardware store, hosts dance and early childhood classes inside a former bank building, and rents gym space from area schools.
Voters approved funds for the rec center at Reed-Keppler after plans were scaled down from an earlier proposal that would have built a larger $19.6 million facility in downtown West Chicago.
For the owner of a $250,000 house, the original plan likely would have meant paying an extra $85 a year in property taxes to the park district. That number was reduced to $65 for the rec center in Reed-Keppler.
Park district Executive Director Gary Major said voters may have been more receptive to the revised plans not only because of the lower cost, but also because of the location in Reed-Keppler, which has athletic fields, a skate park, Turtle Splash Water Park, playgrounds, trails and picnic pavilions.
"Going to Reed-Keppler Park is what, in my mind, tipped the scale. People are familiar with it," Major said. "It's really the central area."
Engineers are surveying the rec center site now, and following the groundbreaking, excavation for the building will begin, Major said.
The first thing to be constructed is a new road that will act as the main artery in the park and lead to the new rec center.
Construction traffic will come in from an access road on the north side of the park, and the site will be fenced off. Major said officials hope to maintain "relatively normal" operations in the rest of the park.
The Fountain View Recreation Center has been taking shape in Carol Stream over the course of nearly two years, and is almost ready for its grand unveiling.
A "soft opening" is scheduled for Sept. 1, followed by a grand opening ceremony at 10 a.m. Sept. 7. Carol Stream Park District officials had wanted to do a soft opening later this month, but that appears unlikely because some interior work still needs to be finished, according to Julie Vogl, the park district's director of marketing services.
The primary job still on the to-do list is installation of phone wiring systems by AT&T, Vogl said.
Then state, county, village and fire department inspectors will be able to come in to conduct final inspections and issue occupancy permits.
The two-story building will feature a gymnasium with three basketball courts; fitness center with free weights and cardio and strength machines; an eight-lane, 25-yard swimming pool; walking track; two multipurpose rooms for park district programming and private rentals; two group fitness classrooms; and a Kids Zone activity room for child day care.
Vogl said everything is starting to take shape, with the completion of the running track, installation of carpeting and flooring, filling the pool with water, and placement of furniture and fitness equipment in the building.
"It's pretty exciting. We're getting ready to get in there. It's going to be an absolutely beautiful building," Vogl said. "The amount of activities and recreational opportunities people will be able to do nearly doubles."
Officials marketed the new rec center in the district's fall adult activity catalog, and programs there are planned for the start of the district's fall season on Sept. 9.
The final cost of the rec center is expected to be about $19 million after change orders adjusted some of the scope of the project, such as installation of different tiles in the women's fitness locker room bathroom/shower area deemed by the park board to have a more appealing look.
The cost is above the $18,229,055 contract the board approved with Riley Construction Company in October 2011. But the same month, the park district received a $2 million state capital construction program grant to help pay for the rec center. That freed some referendum dollars the district has used to pay for other projects, including park upgrades, new playgrounds and trails.