Wight & Company’s vision for a new indoor activity center has been chosen as the winning design by the Northbrook Park District. The 44,000-square foot center will be built on a six-acre parcel that is part of Techny Prairie Park and Fields, the village’s flagship recreation complex in Chicago’s northern suburbs.
Building the new activity center will significantly expand the village’s recreation offerings for residents. The new center will add two gymnasiums for basketball, volleyball and pickleball, a 1/8-mile elevated walking/running track, a well-appointed fitness center with separate studios for group classes and locker rooms. The building will also house a multi-purpose room for community events and party rentals, as well as space for on-site daycare services.
The activity center grew out of the village’s “Comprehensive Master Plan: Moving Forward 2026,” a planning exercise designed to identify community needs and deliver outstanding recreational services to residents of all ages. Northbrook has a population of approximately 33,000 residents.
“This is a big step forward for our district,” said Molly Hamer, executive director for the Northbrook Park District. “This activity center will be our village’s first-ever dedicated indoor recreation facility. It has been designed to meet the needs of every Northbrook resident, from our youngest children to our very active senior community.”
Robert Ijams, director of parks and recreation at Wight & Company, describes the activity center as a direct response to what the park district learned from local residents during the master planning process. “This building will make Techny Park a 365-day destination for Northbrook families,” said Ijams. Currently, the Techny Park complex offers soccer, a nine-hole golf course, batting cages, a skate park and a sledding hill.
Wight & Company’s modern design concept features a pre-cast concrete exterior and large expanses of glass. The exterior will be accented with wooden elements that reference the adjacent parkland setting, a motif that will carry into the building’s interior with expansive views of the golf course and plenty of daylight. The architects drew inspiration for the blue and green interior color palette from artwork created during the Northbrook 2018 Plein Air Painting Festival.
The new activity center will also be highly sustainable and will serve as a living example of the park district’s commitment to environmental stewardship, according to Lois Vitt Sale, FAIA, LEED Fellow, senior vice president/chief sustainability officer at Wight & Company. “We will be pursuing Net-Zero for this project,” said Vitt Sale, which means that that the facility will generate at least as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis. “We also hope to be successful in winning a grant award for the project from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation.”
Chicago-based Wight & Company will serve as design architect and architect of record on the project. Wight & Company will also provide civil, structural and MEP engineering, as well as landscape architecture services for the new building. Construction is expected to begin in Summer 2019, with a target completion date of October 2020. Key members of the Wight & Company project team include Matthew Duggan, Ana Szulc, Asfandyar Kahn, Remzi Tandag, Sudesh Saraf, Marques Thompson, Matthew Aquino, Sean Benson and Patty King.