Facility Profile - October 2010
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Recreation Center

Challenges Met
Sachs Recreation Center in Deerfield, Ill.

By Beth Bales

"When you buy a used building—in this case owned by two different parties—you get a lot of costs you didn't necessarily expect to have. It's just like remodeling your kitchen. One thing leads to another," Gryziecki said.

"The project went from cleaning up the space and making minor changes while working with existing finishes and materials, to a full-blown gut-and-remodel project," agreed PHN's Isela Catania, project coordinator and designer.

Extensive water damage had developed while the building was vacant for more than a year, Catania said. Code issues required more work than anticipated. The servicing fire department had stipulations and demands to be satisfied. And no original blueprints could be found.

"Everything was a challenge," Catania said. "Every day, we would discover various spaces that had been poorly built and that desperately needed to be repaired. We would begin to clean up an area and tried to work with existing finishes to keep costs down. But then, unfortunately, with time we would realize it would be better to gut the space and start from scratch, with new finishes."

In the end, she said, these difficulties worked to the district's advantage. "We did a lot of updating to the finishes and furnishings," Catania said. "It's a more polished facility."

Some challenges became pluses. The black-and-white color scheme of the existing cafe is now a cafeteria with a fun, retro '50s look—and the original flooring.

It's not only the community that's impressed. In January the remodeled center earned an "outstanding facility award" from the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association, earning the highest total points among those entries submitted in that division and category, from throughout the state.

"We're very happy with the community response and input. People are excited and enthusiastic," Gryziecki said. "And we're excited about the opportunities we have now."


Deerfield Park District: www.deerfieldparkdistrict.org

Sachs Recreation Center: www.sachsreccenter.org

PHN Architects: www.phnarchitects.com