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Addams/Medill Park Recreation Center Plan Advances As Architect Hired

By  Ariel Cheung and David Matthews | September 15, 2017 6:21am | Updated on September 19, 2017 11:47am

 The Exelon Student Recreation Center at Addams/Medill Park is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
The Exelon Student Recreation Center at Addams/Medill Park is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
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Provided/City of Chicago

NEAR WEST SIDE — The Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners has awarded a $1.6 million contract to SMNG-A Architects for the new Addams/Medill Park recreation center on the Near West Side.

The firm will oversee the design and construction of the park district's first indoor soccer facility. Altogether, the Exelon Student Recreation Center is a $20 million, 100,000-square-foot multi-purpose indoor facility and another $5 million in outdoor improvements.

"It's certainly going to be utilized by the community," said Tim King, a park board commissioner who noted the park is near both St. Ignatius and an Urban Prep Academy.

The River West-based architecture firm bested 23 other applicants for the contract and is responsible for building Skinner West Elementary and the 2008 renovation of Wentworth Gardens in Bridgeport along with dozens of other city structures and facilities.

A rendering shows what the Addams Recreation Center could look like. [City of Chicago]

As part of its contract, which can be extended for up to two years, SMNG-A has to hire minority-owned subcontractors for 25 percent of the work and women-owned businesses for 5 percent.

City officials anticipate Addams/Medill Park will need the expansion to absorb a spike in residential population spurred by the redevelopment of the former ABLA Homes.

RELATED: Could This Huge Project Transform The Near West Side?

The Roosevelt Square project will bring an estimated 7,500 new residents to the area, of which 57 percent will living in affordable housing or low-income units through the Chicago Housing Authority.

A new $25 million recreational center is reportedly planned for Addams/Medill Park on the Near West Side. [Provided/City of Chicago]

Already, work has begun on 50 townhouses that will be sold at market rate. Last week, the City Council allotted $7 million in tax increment financing to pay for a new Roosevelt Library anchoring a mixed-incoming housing development along Taylor Street as part of the Roosevelt Square redevelopment as well.

The recreation center will be on the north end of the park, roughly from Roosevelt to 13th Street, and is slated to open in December 2019.

It would include a multipurpose artificial turf field, practice track, volleyball court, basketball courts and community rooms. Outside, additions would include a baseball field with natural turf, a walking path and a second artificial turf field that can be used for baseball, football, lacrosse and soccer.

The park district will pay $5 million of the total cost, while Exelon Corp. is expected to pay $3 million. The Inner City Education and Recreation Foundation will pay $5 million, with the CHA covering the rest of the cost.

Addams/Medill Park is home to Spring Awakening and Ruido Fest and is in University Village near the borders of Pilsen and Little Italy.