Board members and staff from the Park District of Forest Park boarded a bus Friday and took a trip to Summit to see a new gymnasium built by the architects who will be designing a comparable facility in Forest Park.

“We took a look at something along the lines of the money that we have [for] what we could build,” said Parks Director Larry Piekarz.

The 12,300-square-foot recreation center was built within the past year in the 5700 block of Archer Avenue for “around $2.5 million,” Piekarz estimated.

“They have a beautiful piece of land next to the Frito Lay plant,” he said. “They were on a tight budget and they did a good job. The rec center gets used quite a bit.”

The building contains an 8,040-square-foot fieldhouse/gymnasium section laid out for a single, college-regulation-sized basketball court, sub-dividable into two smaller courts. The gym is lined for volleyball and indoor soccer as well, Piekarz added.

The building also has a lobby, two program rooms, restrooms and storage, according to a plan prepared by Williams Architects, of Itasca, which has been working with the park district to create a plan based on estimated.

Piekarz said the Forest Park facility would also have a 3,000-square-foot fitness center attached to the building with a separate entrance.

“It was good to see things in person,” he said. “Then you know the size of things and what you like and don’t like.”

“It’s an educational thing,” he added. “Let’s make sure we know what we’re getting and what we can afford and what we can’t.”

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Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...