By Bob Uphues
Riverside Recreation Director Ron Malchiodi says he's still optimistic that construction on the Parks and Recreation Department's new main office at 43 E. Quincy St. will be largely complete by the end of December.
Malchiodi said he hoped interior demolition also may be far enough along to allow visitors to get a peek of the new facility at the Riverside Chamber of Commerce's Holiday Stroll event on Dec. 6.
"I'd like to showcase that location to the public," said Malchiodi about the future Parks and Rec headquarters, which will also provide additional onsite programming space and equipment and vehicle storage.
On Nov. 7, the Riverside Village Board awarded a pair of contracts related to the new recreation center. F.H. Paschen will serve as the general contractor for the project, which also will include some minor demolition and renovation at the department's current headquarters at the water tower, 10 Pine Ave., in the center of the village.
The village used F.H. Paschen earlier this year to renovate the Gold Star Memorial and repair the Driver Monument in Guthrie Park. The village selected the company through the Job Order Contracting program made available to municipalities by the city of Naperville.
Instead of having to go through its own competitive bidding process, Riverside used the Naperville program to essentially pre-bid for construction services.
"It's useful to a small entity like us," said Public Works Director Edward Bailey.
The $405,500 construction project will entail demolition of the interior at 43 E. Quincy St., which will be converted into offices for the four full-time and three part-time employees of the department and will include a kitchen, ADA-compliant bathrooms, a multipurpose room and new plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems.
"We're not doing anything elaborate," said Malchiodi. "We hope the majority of the work can be done by the end of the year."
In addition to the construction contract, the village board also awarded a $25,500 contract for architectural services to Williams Architects to design the improvements at 43 E. Quincy St. and the renovations at the water tower.
Williams Architects previously did a survey of the village's public facilities that identified a need to relocate the recreation offices out of the water tower. The recommendation was part of a sweeping plan that called for spending more than $25 million to renovate and expand the village's Riverside Road campus.
The sheer cost appears to have put such a project on the backburner. In August, the village board approved purchasing 43 E. Quincy St., buying out a $207,000 mortgage on the property from the owner, a construction company that had defaulted on the loan.
"I'm hoping to have architectural drawings and plans in the next few weeks," Malchiodi said.
The work at the water tower will involve converting the current office spaces and conference room area into ones that can be used for additional programming and accommodate the department's KinderKids program, an afternoon early childhood program for 5 and 6 year olds.
The multipurpose room at the water tower location will continue to be used for recreation programming, but it will no longer function as a place where residents can register for program. All of the central office functions will transfer to the Quincy Street locations.
"I envision a period of transition where we operate out of both places," Malchiodi said. "We'll do a lot of public education."