Prairie Point, headquarters for the Oswegoland Park District for 27 years, is in need of major renovations, board members were told at a recent park district board meeting.
The building at 313 E. Washington St. in Oswego has been home to the district since 1991, when it was purchased along with the adjacent 66-acre Prairie Point Community Park site. The building, which has been the headquarters for the district offices since it was purchased, was built as a farm implement dealership, a use it retained until purchased by the park district.
“Our 1999 study showed that Prairie Point would serve for a long time, but that was years ago and many things have changed since then,” Rich Zielke, park district executive director, told board members.
Zielke said they weighed the cost of renovating the building versus new construction and decided to focus on renovation. He noted that the district’s five-year capital improvement plan calls for $500,000 in mechanical improvements, a new roof and other improvements to this building.
“It needs renovating, but it’s a fantastic site with so many opportunities, so the staff decided to work with [an architectural] firm to get thoughts on how to renovate the building and the entire four acres it sits on,” he said.
The board unanimously approved hiring Dewberry Architects to do a site and building improvement study for $65,000. So, the board will have to decide, after the Dewberry study is complete this fall, whether to update a building they have outgrown that is in need of maintenance and mechanical work, or possibly go with a new building.
Zielke said Dewberry will come back with realistic cost estimates for updating the building as well as estimated costs for a new building. He noted that park board officials also have to consider how to continue working in the building while repairs are being made.
“Dewberry knows this and has done other significant building renovations while staffs have continued to work in them,” he added.
Zielke said Dewberry also will do a parking space study of the site as well as design plans to realign the exit to Grove Road with a subdivision across from it, and adding other safety features.
Dave Krahn, board president, noted how staff members are crowded into small areas, and even commented on problems with mice in the building.
“Our job is to look five to 10 years down the road. We have looked at other locations, but it makes good sense to stay here and make this work if possible, but we will rely on professionals’ opinions,” he added.