$5.8 million McHenry Recreation Center to open Feb. 29

McHENRY – Final touches are all that remain at the new, $5.8 million McHenry Recreation Center.

The Precor fitness equipment has been delivered and mostly installed. The spin bikes sit in rows across from stacks of aerobic steps in one of the group exercise rooms. The floor in the locker room was being sealed.

Just over a week remains before Feb. 29, the tentative opening date for the 18,200-square-foot facility with multi-purpose rooms and a 4,500-square-foot fitness center.

“We’re excited and nervous at the same time,” Deputy City Administrator Bill Hobson said. “There’s a lot of cleaning. It’s a flurry of activity right now, but we’re very excited for where we’re at and where we’re headed.”

PHOTOS: McHenry Recreation Center prepares to open

The McHenry Recreation Center has been in the works since 1999, when the city council decided to save 50 percent of its developer donation revenue for a combined aquatic and recreation center.

When the city determined the $4.5 million the city put aside over the years plus any profits wouldn’t be enough to fund a combined center, the council decided to pursue a recreation center designed in a way that an aquatic portion could be added later.

The entire project – construction plus furniture, equipment and any contingencies – was budgeted to cost an estimated $5.8 million, according to city documents.

The rec center opening to the public features a fitness center with fixed weights, free weights, cardiovascular machines and a functional training rig, a new trend in fitness that allows amateurs to exercise like professionals in a 20- to 30-minute workout that targets the entire body instead of working through various muscle groups, Recreation Center Manager Matt LaPorte said.

“They can actually work everything at one time for efficiency to get in and out,” he said. “When all of our lives are getting busier, functional training has really helped people stay in shape and work out in a new way.”

The rec center also has two group exercise rooms; a multi-purpose room that can be rented out for weddings or other events of up to about 100 people and can be divided into three; a child care center with toys and a wooden castle; and offices so the parks and recreation department can move out of city hall, opening up space for an expanded police and fire dispatch center.

About 500 memberships have been purchased since they went on sale in early December, putting the city at the top end of the range it hoped to hit before the facility opened, LaPorte said. The center needs about a thousand memberships by the end of the year to be in the black, although other revenue streams such as renting, baby-sitting fees and advertising may offset that number.

“With presale numbers being ahead of where I thought they’d be, I’m encouraged,” Hobson said.

Interest in renting the space also has been above what they expected, LaPorte said.

About memberships

A presale discount of 10 percent plus a waiver of the enrollment fee will continue until the end of the day Feb. 29, after which the prices will return to their normal levels.

The presale monthly rates start at $29 for individuals 19 to 61 years old, and a family member age 12 and older can be added for $19 a person. Seniors 62 and older and teenagers 14 to 18 years old can get memberships for $22 a month.

Tours of the facility be will available starting Monday, running 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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