January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 19

OPERATIONS
Redefining Recreation Centers to Address
Community Health and Well-Being
By Brent Ross
I
t's an important time for community recreation centers around the
country. As advances in technology and the coronavirus (COVID-19)
pandemic have made communities more isolated and disengaged, our
civic and community spaces need to be redefined to address the health
and well-being of our communities. The role of community centers now
stretches beyond their impact on an individual's quality of life to include
their impact on the sustained health of our communities and our cultures.
The Community Recreation Center
(CRC), which opened in Oak
Park, Illinois, in spring 2023, is a
42,000-square-foot facility designed
and built during the pandemic and
responds to our new needs around
these facility types. Design started
in March 2020 during the week
Oak Park's shelter-in-place orders
took effect. Design and construction
continued through a period of
significant civil tensions, reinforcing
the client's and team's belief in the
importance of these projects in urban
communities - bringing people
together for collective physical,
mental and community wellness.
Community engagement was
central to the design process, and
the pandemic required the project
team to pivot to virtual meetings. Interactive
polling and questions from
the audience informed the design.
Free after-school programs for students,
new offices for the Community
Mental Health Board and an
esports lounge are among the more
distinctive programs in the building.
This broad mix of programming
creates a welcoming space for all,
not just athletes. The facility offers
a range of amenities, including a fitness
center, indoor gym, walking/
jogging track with views of Chicago's
skyline, community meeting
rooms and more.
The design expresses much of its
programming along the active street
to the north, encouraging membership
and inclusion while taking advantage
of the indirect light. A grand
staircase in the center of the lobby
takes visitors to the second level,
consisting of the fitness center and
a gymnasium with basketball courts.
A bridge across the lobby atrium connects
users to a multipurpose fitness
studio and the Community Mental
Health Board's office suite. Informal
gathering spaces with benches and
tables for guests to meet, rest or work
are available throughout the facility.
Support for Sustainable,
Inclusive Design
Embracing the park district's
equity and inclusion mission, the
inclusive bathrooms and locker
rooms prioritize the privacy and
comfort of users while providing
shower, change and toilet facilities
that are not gender specific.
During interactive engagement, the
community responded 89 percent
in support of the inclusive facilities.
The CRC's deep ties to its community
are demonstrated further
by a mural outside the center from
local first-through-sixth graders depicting
the stories of Oak Park's geography,
history and people from
prehistoric times to the present.
The Park District of Oak Park
managed to fund a majority of
the project through donations and
grants. The Illinois Clean Energy
Community Foundation provided
a grant for 80 percent of the improvements
that helped the building
achieve its net-zero energy goal.
Arrays of photovoltaic (solar) panels
on the roof, south fa├žade and a
canopy on the adjacent parking lot
generate enough energy to exceed
demands of the building, pushing
electricity back to the grid - and, it
is estimated, saving the park district
$80,000 per year in energy costs.
Our communities
are engaged
now more than ever, with growing
awareness of the vitality of community
centers. The design of the CRC
was an opportunity to fulfill the
park district's mission and the needs
of its residents. The future of our
community centers is one where
designers and community leaders
collaborate to understand how these
facilities can be a focal point for inclusion
and sustainability.
Brent Ross is a Practice Leader at
Perkins&Will, specializing in the sports,
recreation and entertainment market
(brent.ross@perkinswill.com).
PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G | J ANUAR Y 2 0 2 4 | Parks & Recreation
19

January 2024 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of January 2024 - Parks & Recreation

January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - Intro
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 1
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 2
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 3
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 4
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 5
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 6
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 7
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 8
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 9
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 10
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 11
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 12
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 13
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 14
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 15
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 16
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 17
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 18
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 19
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 20
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 21
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 22
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 23
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 24
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 25
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 26
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 27
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 28
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 29
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 30
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 31
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 32
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 33
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 34
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 35
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 36
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 37
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 38
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 39
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 40
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 41
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 42
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 43
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 44
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 45
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 46
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 47
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 48
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 49
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 50
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 51
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 52
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 53
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 54
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 55
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 56
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
January 2024 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
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