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updated: 8/29/2014 5:58 AM

Playground, cafe, more space now part of Naperville Park District plan

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  • Ray McGury, Naperville Park District executive director, explains an option to expand a multipurpose room, indoor playground and cafe at the future indoor activity center to park board commissioners Thursday night.

       Ray McGury, Naperville Park District executive director, explains an option to expand a multipurpose room, indoor playground and cafe at the future indoor activity center to park board commissioners Thursday night.
    Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer

  • Bill Eagan, a Naperville park board commissioner, encourages park district staff to maximize amenities in the future indoor activity center by expanding a multipurpose room, indoor playground and cafe to add 2,500 square feet to the building.

       Bill Eagan, a Naperville park board commissioner, encourages park district staff to maximize amenities in the future indoor activity center by expanding a multipurpose room, indoor playground and cafe to add 2,500 square feet to the building.
    Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer

 
 

Naperville Park District officials, who are inching closer to finalizing designs for an indoor activity center, expanded a few elements of the plan Thursday night.

A 2,500-square-foot area that will offer a larger multipurpose room, indoor playground and cafe was added to the project.

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The addition brings the building being designed for Quincy Avenue and Fort Hill Drive to roughly 78,000 square feet, and it adds $620,000 to the project's $23.5 million budget.

"We believe that's the best design to go with for the money," Executive Director Ray McGury told the park board on Thursday. "You're really going to see some benefits to this."

Benefits include a larger space for the building's fourth multipurpose room, which now can be designed as "more of a dedicated space" for the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association, said Brad Wilson, director of recreation.

The additional square footage also helps meet resident requests received earlier this year for an indoor playground.

"We heard loud and clear from the focus groups that folks want an indoor playground experience, and we should do everything we can do to deliver that," park board Commissioner Marie Todd said.

Aside from the newly added space, the activity center will have two basketball courts that also can serve as volleyball or badminton courts. It will have a gymnastics room, a fitness center, a walking track and several multipurpose rooms spread over two floors.

"I think we have to be very concerned about the customer experience we're developing," Commissioner Kirsten Young said. "I want it to be a very good project."

Commissioner Ron Ory was the only one who opposed adding the expansion to activity center designs because it takes the project cost beyond the original budget.

Initial budget estimates were for a $20 million or $21 million building, but the park district soon found itself roughly $4 million over budget. Plans were downsized to include only two gymnasiums instead of three, but then a state grant of $2.5 million came in, bumping the new budget to roughly $23.5 million.

McGury said the project was "spot-on" budget Thursday before the addition of the extra 2,500 square feet.

The park district can find $620,000 for the expansion from cash developers have paid instead of setting aside land for future parks. Before tapping into that fund, however, staff members will look for savings elsewhere in the project and hope some bids come in lower than budgeted.

"Once it opens, we may very well see more demand than we anticipate," park board President Mike Reilly said. "I do think there's pent-up demand for indoor space in this community."

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