Harper College unveils renovated rec center, pool, clinic
Though it's located on Harper College's Palatine campus, a renovated and expanded 38-year-old building is now open for students and community members alike who want to swim a few laps, lift some weights, take a yoga class, or need a quick doctor's checkup.
The 135,000-square-foot Foglia Foundation Health and Recreation Center includes a renovated six-lane pool; new 10,000-square-foot fitness center; and 10,000-square-foot medical clinic. It's the result of a partnership Harper, the Palatine Park District and Northwest Community Healthcare inked two years ago when the college was looking to renovate its old Building M and the park district found an opportunity for a long-sought indoor pool. At the same time, Harper was trying to save the $500,000 it spent annually to run an on-campus clinic, so the college brought Northwest Community into the fold.
At a dedication and grand-opening ceremony Monday, Harper President Ken Ender called the renovated building something that "quite frankly, neither one of us could do by ourselves."
Steve Scogna, president and CEO of the Arlington Heights-based hospital system, added, "This was all about community."
Of the $41 million total cost, Harper spent $31 million on upgrades to its old rec center -- once referred to as "the loneliest building on campus," Ender said. It now includes a new 1/8-mile second-floor jogging track, dozens of new fitness machines, four fitness studios and updated locker rooms. A new floor for the four-court gym should be finished by January.
All but $2 million for the cost of the track came from proceeds through a referendum authorized by voters in 2008.
The park district is paying $9 million over 20 years for some of the construction costs and to run operations at the renovated 13-foot-deep pool and provide aquatic, dance, sports and fitness programming. The college planned to close and seal up the underutilized pool, but changed course after talking with park district officials, who noted an indoor pool was atop residents' wish list in a 2015 survey.
Any Harper student can use the rec center -- an extra $3-per-credit-hour fee that went into effect last spring is helping pay for ongoing maintenance of the building -- while residents of the 23 communities covered by Harper's district can pay the same rates for fitness classes as park district residents, under terms of the intergovernmental agreement.
Harper students also get discounted rates to use Northwest Community's Outpatient Care Center, which has a dozen exam rooms, an X-ray room and rehab gym for physical therapy. Health careers students will get to use the offices as lab space.
The outpatient center, which is open to the public, is staffed by two doctors and three nurse practitioners. The hospital spent more than $1 million on build-out of the offices and is paying Harper $127,000 in annual rent over 10 years.
Harper dedicated the building to recognize the Foglia Family Foundation for giving $1.5 million to the college's Promise scholarship program, which provides free tuition to high school students who maintain their grades, have good attendance and perform community service.