West Ridge Park Building and Site Planning
636 Ridge Road


West Ridge Center, a former Highland Park elementary school site, is an aging building that needs extensive renovation, and its configuration no longer meets the needs of the Park District. The building currently houses Park District early childhood programs, youth enrichment, athletics, and performing and creative arts programs. Due to the building’s age, condition, functionality, and aging infrastructure, the Park District’s Master Plan, GreenPrint2024, recommended the replacement of the building.    

In 2019 the Park District conducted a GreenPrint 2024 Review and Amendment, which expressed the need for a multi-purpose facility as well as the need to address West Ridge Center to provide flexible programming space to better serve the community with youth and adult programming, and an opportunity for a gymnastics studio.   

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 include building and site visioning, site analysis, programming, planning, and preliminary design. Holabird and Root studied three options: renovating the building, renovation and adding on to the building, and building new.  The study takes 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 aim 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. Concurrently, the Park District is completing a study to assess the need and potential of various programs planned for a new West Ridge Center.

Construction plans have not yet been developed for this project. The Park District is in the preliminary planning phase.

Join the Conversation

An open house was held on May 6, 2023 to discuss the West Ridge Park Building and Site Preliminary Planning Efforts. The preliminary planning study is a direct response to recommendations from the Green Print Master Plan. The study focused on understanding need and the site to develop an approach to address the West Ridge Center. The District welcomes comments to guide future steps. This is the first of many opportunities to collaborate on the project to redevelop the West Ridge Center and Park.

The boards presented at the open house are posted below.

Why are we here?

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This project is rooted in the Park District’s GreenPrint Master Plan which supports addressing the aging West Ridge Building. The GreenPrint Update confirmed the recommendation and highlighted the need for multi-use space to be flexible to better serve the community. Holabird and Root modeled three different schemes through the preliminary planning study. The scheme to build new is recommended as the most cost-effective scheme to achieve the goals of the Park District within the project budget.

Evaluate what is possible at West Ridge Park and confirm program needs
Preliminary Planning
in progress
Schematic Design