In early 2022, the Park District hired architectural firm Holabird and Root to study West Ridge Center recognizing the need to meet growing demands for updated facilities, services, and programs for the community. The firm’s tasks included building and site visioning, site analysis, programming, planning, and preliminary design. Holabird and Root studied three options: renovation, hybrid: renovation and addition, and build new. The study took a holistic approach to the entire site, including user group and community input, and working within a budget of approximately $15 million.
The study’s results aimed to answer the critical question of whether to renovate or build new. Renovation options were determined to be costly upfront, would not meet program needs, and would carry long-term costs for continued maintenance of an aging building. New construction stood out as the best option. A preliminary site evaluation recommends placing a new facility in the southeast portion of the park and demolishing the existing building once construction is complete.
Construction is anticipated to begin fall 2024 and extend through the first part of 2026. Operations at West Ridge Center will continue through the construction. Athletics programs that currently use the fields at West Ridge Park will be relocated.
The Park District will endeavor to have minimal impact on programs.
The Park District is exploring the opportunity to relocate the gymnastics program that is currently housed at Centennial Ice Arena to the new building at West Ridge Park. A new building offers the opportunity to construct a gym that will have the capacity to meet the demands of the program.
The plan is to construct a new community center on the southeast side of West Ridge Park. Once that building is constructed, the existing West Ridge Center will be demolished.
The Park District started the first phase of the design process, schematic design, in August 2023, renderings of the proposed building will be shared with the community for comment once available.
There will be various community meetings along the way. Meetings and information will be posted here.
The activation of this corner of the park, as proposed by the Sunset Woods Master Plan, has not been approved and the concept has not been further developed. The addition of a garden and new paths is currently an unfunded project. The donation from Hillco would provide the Parks Foundation of Highland Park with $100,000 to go towards development of concept for a park garden and gathering area.
No, the proposed parking lot does not include lighting.
If the project is permitted at the September Planning and Design Commission meeting, the proposed easement agreement would be reviewed and considered for approval by the Park Board on September 13 and September 23, 2023. Park Board Meetings are public and the agendas are posted on the Park District’s website.