The Riverside Recreation Department, headquartered in the village’s Public Works building across the Des Plaines River in Riverside Lawn since last spring, may be back downtown by summer. And, when they return, their old digs in the former water tower pump house in Centennial Park will look a lot different.

Although Riverside village trustees have not given the final go-ahead to fund the pump house renovation effort, they assented to seek bids for the project, which is expected to cost some $200,000. That figure is more than double an earlier estimate for renovation, which was pegged at $77,000.

Eventually, trustees are expected to agree to amending the 2006 budget, shifting money from the capital projects fund to cover the difference between the earlier estimate and current projections.

“I think we have to move forward with this project,” said Village President Harold J. Wiaduck Jr. “It’s more expensive than we thought, and in our community anything over budget tends to be huge. But this will provide activity space and be an asset for the Centennial Park area. If we’re going to do it, we better do it right.”

Recreation Director Laure Kosey cautioned that the $200,000 figure was a “guesstimate” by the architects from Arcon Associates who drew up plans for the renovation, but that she wanted to give trustees “a heads-up” on what the projects may end up costing.

Kosey said the department will seek construction bids and hoped that the village might be able to hire an contractor in March.

“I’d like to be in there by May,” Kosey said. “If we can have a contractor by March that would give them eight weeks. Can they do it in that time? I have no idea.”

At the village board’s Committee of the Whole meeting on Jan. 3, Kosey presented the board with a floor plan of the proposal that includes an activity room that could be used for recreation department programming and other community uses, a board room and offices for recreation department staff and two ADA-accessible bathrooms, which would be located on the ground floor of the abandoned circular water tower.

Originally, recreation officials hoped to use the circular tower space for programming, but the size of the bathrooms required made that impossible.

“I thought we could tuck them next to each other, but we can’t,” Kosey said. “This is the most efficient, practical way to do it.”

According to the architect’s drawing, visitors to the recreation department will enter through 10 Pine Ave. into a central reception area. To the south will be a 24-by-27-foot activity room, which will allow the recreation department to host some of the programs such as yoga, tae kwon do, tai chi, kick boxing and aerobics classes it currently rents space for at other sites in and outside of the village.

By hosting those classes in the new recreation space, Kosey estimated that the department could save between $6,000 and $7,000 per year in rental fees. She added that the activities and conference rooms could be used by other village organizations.

The board room and recreation department offices are planned in the north half of the building, with storage areas in the unused portions of the circular tower space.

The cost estimates for the renovation jumped because of several factors not considered previously. Two of the bigger ticket items in the new estimate are for a new heating/air-conditioning system ($38,000), a sprinkler system ($30,000), fire alarms ($6,500), asbestos removal ($6,500), a lead paint study/remediation ($12,000) and some significant plumbing work ($12,000).

The cost for lead abatement may be higher, pending the study. According to a memo from Steven E. Hougsted, principal of Arcon Associates, the paint on the ceiling of the proposed activities room (the former pump room) is loose and chipping. According to the memo, “the ceiling system in this room will be removed and then the loose lead paint will be scraped off.”

In addition, according to Hougsted, “due to the fact that children will be among the future occupants of this place, a full lead survey and hazard assessment must be completed prior to completing construction documents for this project.”

In its 2006 budget, the Riverside village board allocated $60,000 to the renovation of the old pump house. In addition, the village proposes shifting $17,000 left over from the amount budgeted in 2005 for the restoration of the Swan Pond wall to the pump house renovation as well as the $25,000 earmarked in 2006 for recreation department equipment and maintenance.

The rest of the balance, $98,000, will be paid from the village’s capital projects fund, pending approval by village trustees.