Gym, dance and fitness studios part of new Mundelein parks facility
For more than 50 years, the little building known as the Chalet served as a warming house and activity spot for the Mundelein Park & Recreation District.
But its useful life is over and the three-room, 2,000-square-foot structure at 888 Dunbar Road will be demolished and replaced with a facility six times the size at what has become a recreational campus east of Midlothian Road.
"We think we're responding to the needs of the community," said Margaret Resnick, the district's executive director.
Resnick was among the park district officials, architects and others Monday evening at the site for a ceremonial groundbreaking. The 12,000-square-foot building will include a gym, activity room, dance and fitness studios and an instructional kitchen.
Contracts for the project and associated work amount to $4.8 million. About half the funding is from an Illinois Department of Natural Resources grant.
Since the Chalet was built about 1964, the stately Mundelein Community Center that houses district offices, a fitness center and other uses and the Barefoot Bay outdoor water park have been built across the expanse of Keith Mione Community Park on what has become a park district campus.
But the need for new facilities was identified several years ago, Resnick said.
"We have been pushing classes into rooms they're not appropriate for, but we're just out of space, mainly (for) dance and fitness," she said.
The district also has been renting facilities for its summer day camp at Mechanics Grove Elementary School and wants to bring it back.
Cooking and nutritional classes will be offered in the new state of the art kitchen and dance classes will have room to grow, added Bob Knudson, park board president.
The district was awarded a $2.36 million state grant in 2014, but it was suspended the next year. With no guarantee the grant would be forthcoming, the district borrowed $4 million to proceed. Last summer, Mundelein and several other entities learned the grants would be reinstated.
Grant-funded work includes removing four adjoining tennis courts that are in disrepair. Two will be replaced at the district's expense.
The district borrowed $4 million so principal and interest payments and tax rates will remain level as the debt on money borrowed to build Barefoot Bay will be repaid this year.
"It is nice when you can replace a 53-year-old building with an new state of the art facility with little to no financial impact to the community," Knudson said.
Demolition will begin soon and the new center will open in late spring or early summer 2018.