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Study: Woodridge Athletic Recreation Center Would be Financially Sustainable

The Woodridge Park District is considering a $18 million construction project to build the center by 2015.

Editor's note: The numbers in this article are from a preliminary feasibility study and are not final.

The Athletic Recreation Center if built would be financially sustainable, according to park district officials.

The Woodridge Park District board reviewed a preliminary feasibility study for the center at a special board meeting Saturday. The board will review a final feasibility study in May.

The study projects that by year one, the center will turn a profit of $96,156. By its fifth year, the center is projected to turn a profit of $557,413.

"We're showing that the center will be self-sufficient based on conservative numbers," said Mike Adams, executive director for the park district, Saturday.

Year One Year Two Year Three Year Four Year Five Projected Revenue $1,599,192 $1,782,661 $2,062,564 $2,159,254 $2,333,549 Projected Expenses $1,503,035 $1,548,875 $1,648,148 $1,700,773 $1,776,136 Project Profit $96,156 $233,785 $414,416 $458,481 $557,413

The proposed 76,000-square-foot facility comes with a roughly $18 million price tag, according to the study. The construction costs will be paid for with park district debt service set to retire by 2014 and 2015.

If the athletic recreation center receives the approval of the Woodridge Park District board, construction could begin in 2014 with an opening date set in 2015.

The center’s main revenue draw will be from fitness memberships -- about $511,000 is projected to come in during the center’s first year.

Other major sources of revenue: youth programming with a projected $346,351 the first year, competitive and traveling soccer at $135,975, performance fitness and training at $80,800 and food and beverage at $72,930.

On the expense side, management payroll is projected at $422,600 the first year, followed by fitness memberships at $134,804 and payroll taxes at $116,696.

Compared with other athletic recreation centers, Woodridge's would be a small- to medium-sized building, said Jason Clement, a consultant who worked on the feasibility study.

"You're getting the best bang for your buck," Clement said. "You have a more family-focused membership, and it fits that niche well. It offers all the programs you need and is responsive and responsible to the community."

As part of the feasibility study, consultants vetted the financial return of each aspect of the recreation center.

According to market demand, the center’s turf fields are projected to be the facility’s major draw, with 80 percent utilization projected in the center’s first year. The turf can be used for soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, flag football and other play.

About 21,000 square feet of the recreation center is currently designated as turf fields, almost a third of the center’s total 76,000 square feet. An analysis of market demand showed that the turf spaces would be "pretty well-packed," Clement said.

“The cost of the space is probably one of the cheaper spaces to build,” Adams said. “It provides us the best utilization of the facility in regard to programming that space.”

The turf space is what will set the athletic recreation center apart from other facilities, Clement said.

“Your families are going to have an opportunity to utilize and play a diverse amount of sports and programs,” Clement said.

The center’s courts are projected to have a 60 percent utilization in the center’s first year. Courts will take up 10,000 square feet, half the space of the turf fields. The space includes a high school regulation full-size basketball court and can also be divided into three volleyball courts.

“The court spaces for the majority of the year will not be as fully utilized, and with overflow options with the schools it ended up being the right solution to provide a great service for the community and get you the best bang for your buck," Clement said.

A rock climbing wall was cut from plans after it was determined the space wouldn’t bring in enough revenue to cover its costs. Clement said while the rock-climbing wall would create some buzz initially, research showed interest would wane until the costs of the wall exceeded revenue.

The analysis continued to the center's locker rooms. Each locker room will have two showers after analysis showed people using the center after work would be less likely to shower and would simply need a place to secure their belongings.

Two sites along Janes Avenue are being considered for the athletic recreation center -- at Orchard Hill Park and a four-acre lot at the northeast corner of Janes Avenue and 83rd Street.

George P April 26, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Doesn't this financial model rely on reducing or taking business away from for-profit companies?
Samantha May 02, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Upon preliminary review, the numbers look good & I think I'd support the initiative. It would be a great addition to the community and a great chance to make sure our residents are more active. (Personal aside: I do wish it could have an indoor pool like The Core in Lemont.) I'd definitely like more information - are they planning to hold a information session as they get further in their evaluation?

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