Plainfield Park rec center will be energy independent

Brock A. Stein | 2/5/2018, 11:32 a.m.
When it’s complete in January 2019, the Plainfield Park District’s new community recreation center at Bott Park will be a ...
Walls for the new Plainfield Park District recreation center at Bott Park will have insulated cores that will help retain heat making it the first facility in the state to earn a net-zero certification. Plainfield Park District

When it’s complete in January 2019, the Plainfield Park District’s new community recreation center at Bott Park will be a much needed amenity for the communities it serves.

The 40,000 square foot facility at the former Renwick Park will include an oversized gym with seating, a 4,000-square-foot fitness center, fitness studio, elevated walking track, 4 preschool classrooms, as well as a 1600 square foot multi-purpose room, and office space.

The building will also be the first rec center in the state with a net-zero certification said park district executive director Carlo Capalbo.

While some buildings aim for LEED certification standards that show their energy efficient building standards, Capalbo said that the new “building will create as much energy as it uses.”

About 18,000 square feet of the roof of the facility will also be covered in solar panels he said meaning that electric energy usage will be produced on site and excess energy can be banked to offset natural gas usage as well.

It will retain heat through the use of triple glazed windows and energy efficient, heat-retaining walls.

Capalbo and other members of the Plainfield Park District staff visited a facility in January to see the construction of the new concrete walls with their energy-efficient insulated cores before they’re brought to the construction site later this year.

The project received a $1 million grant from Illinois Clean Energy Foundation to help it achieve the net-zero designation.

“Currently nobody has the net-zero certification,” said Capalbo, “we are trying to become one of the first rec centers to carry that designation.”

The grant also helps offset the $10 million cost of the facility that was approved by voter referendum in November 2016.

Capalbo said that the project is expected to be completed by January 2019 but could be done earlier.

Once completed he said that it will provide a much-needed facility for the just over 105,000 residents the park district serves. He said that several programs like its basketball league can be held at the facility which currently depends on the use of school district courts. Capalbo said that the district encompasses just over 43 square miles with parks and facilities serving both Will and Kendall Counties including parts of Plainfield Township, Wheatland Township, Bolingbrook, Crest Hill, Joliet, Plainfield, and Romeoville.

Park District Director of Administrative Services Wendi Calabrese said that a contest to name the new facility will be rolled out in the coming weeks.