PROGRESS REPORT (Updated 9/15): CRC expansion and renovation project under review


Community Recreation Center expansion to address growing community need for more indoor fitness and programming space

According to community-wide surveys conducted over an extended period of time, the Wheeling community sees the Wheeling Park District as a positive asset and good value. Recreation, fitness, programming, and athletics play a significant role in the quality of life in Wheeling.

The Community Recreation Center (CRC) has served the community very well, but the needs of the community are changing. With the development of Town Center, Northgate Crossing and other new developments, and the relocation of Village of Wheeling senior services full-time to the CRC beginning January 2018, the Park District will experience a growing demand for fitness and programming space.

As the number one provider of recreational programming and services, the Park District has a responsibility to meet the needs of the community. Long-term study and financial planning have prepared the Park District to take on this project, but more steps need to be completed before final approval to move forward is given by the Park District Board of Commissioners.

Wheeling Park District will go before the Village of Wheeling Planning Commission on Thursday, September 14, 2017, seeking a height variance to exceed the maximum allowed height of 30 feet by 6-9 feet. Initial site plans and building designs show a remodeled entry space of about 39 feet, and a second gym reaching 36 feet.

UPDATE 9/15/17: On Thursday 9/14/17, the Village of Wheeling Planning Commission approved the height variance based on the information presented by the Park District. Images of the site plane and exterior renderings of the expansion may be viewed here: CRC Renovation Images.pdf

Plans are to go out to bid later this year with results expected early 2018. The current cost estimate for this project is $16.9 million. The Park District Board of Commissioners will wait to give final approval until all bids are reviewed.

It is the practice of the Park District to plan in advance for major renovation projects and to build reserves over the long-term in anticipation of projected future needs. The majority of the CRC project will be financed through the Capital Project Fund. The Park District will not issue a referendum seeking additional financial support from the community, nor will we be seeking a higher tax increase to cover the cost.

Should the overall CRC project budget be approved by the Park District Board of Commissioners, the project plan will move forward immediately. It is expected to take 18 months to complete the expansion and renovation. This will be a phased project allowing programming and services to continue throughout the duration of construction.

By analyzing how the Community Recreation Center is currently used and studying growth patterns and trends, the Park District identified the following areas of improvement that would most benefit our guests.
New Enlarged Fitness Center
  • Improved atmosphere through greater visibility and openness
  • Additional fitness machines with more comfortable spacing between
  • Adequate area for stretching, personal training, and assessment
  • Space for group exercise classes within the Fitness area
  • New fitness area locker rooms 
Preschool Relocation & Renovation
  • Improved drop-off location and traffic flow
  • Dedicated and restricted entrance for preschool participants only
  • Transition space outside for classrooms
  • Modernized classroom features keeping pace with current educational trends 
Second Gymnasium
  • Increased community open gym time
  • Additional league and tournament space
  • Large group programming space 
General Renovations
  • Redesign of the entryway for improved visibility of the Guest Service Area
  • Separate entrance into Fitness area to potentially increase hours of operation
  • Additional dedicated programming space on the first level of the CRC
Along with the expansion/renovation, deferred maintenance projects and a general refresh of the entire building are included in the scope of the project budget.
As we move forward, the Park District will send updates via the “In the Know” newsletter and by email. A location on the Park District website dedicated to the CRC project will be added, and information will be shared on our Facebook and Twitter pages.