City staff will ask Evanston aldermen tonight to approval issuing a request for qualifications for design services for a proposed new Robert Crown Community Center.

Fundraising is still underway for the project and no details of its success have been disclosed, but the staff believes its time to seek a firm to do the design work.

The draft RFQ describes a new recreation center with two ice rinks,  a 100-foot by 200-foot international size rink with seating for 600 spectators and an 85-foot by 200-foot NHL regulation rink with seating for 1,000 spectators and potential future expansion to double its spectator capacity.

The current Crown Center has one full size and one small, studio-size ice rink.

The RFQ also calls for a gymnasium large enough to accommoadate two full-court basketball games and with retractable seating for 300 spectators. That would be substantially larger than the current center’s gym.

It also calles for a new 5,000 square foot library branch, a four-lane running track and various other facilities.

The proposal anticipates a $30,000,000 building price tag with completion of the project by September 2018.

The existing Crown Center was built in 1975 and plans to replace it have been under consideration for roughly a decade.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. And a Pool?

    Please consider that the city of Evanston does not have a community pool. It does not have either an indoor pool or an outdoor pool.  The rec Plex in Pleasant Prairie Wisconsin is a great case study for a rec center that incorporates both professional sized hockey rinks along with an Olympic size pool and also an indoor waterpark. Thank you. 

    1. Yes, a pool would be great
      The Illinois local governing body for US Masters Swimming ( held its short course (yards) state championships at the Recplex in 2014, and is slated to hold them there again in 2017. The Recplex hosts many high level meets. If Evanston was to build a competition pool, I’m sure it would be in demand, both short course (yards and meters) as well as long course (meters), and could be a significant source of revenue for the city. There are relatively few pools in the state of Illinois capable of hosting and willing to host such meets.

  2. Tennis Courts & Bowling Alley

    Will it also have tennis courts and bowling Alley (perhap 6 or 10 lanes). Fitness Center?

    1. Crown add-ons
      And who is deciding the add-ons? What about a TV room where parents can wait while their kids are in classes? What about TONS of extra parking…..a training room? LOTS of extra staff to clean, set-up, and monitor the extra areas……I would imagine the new building would be closer to the 40 million mark like it was mentioned a while back……
      Also..if there are two main sheets of ice, then there needs to be DOUBLE the amount of locker rooms…plus a better one for the gym (male & female), and team rooms for girl hockey players as well. AND larger lobby bathrooms……etc., etc., etc……..

      1. Actually …

        The plans call for 10 locker rooms for the two ice rinks … and a bunch of other ancillary features. You could read all about it starting at page 194 of the City Council packet.

        — Bill

    2. Purpose

        I am not that familar with the purpose for the community center, why all the spectator seating? 

      1. What is purpose of Crown

        What is the purpose of the Crown ?

        Another stab at a branch library ? For children who can't make it to the Main—hard to believe there would be any ?  Adequate books [kind student would need—Twig and North don't even have those] and reference for children to do their school work—why not use ETHS library instead ? Replacement for North and Twig—i.e. disband them and use resources for Crown ?

        Is it a center for dis-advantaged children ?

        For well-off kids—the skating/hocky sure sounds like an expensive sport and probably not for disadvantaged children.

        Do the Y's not meet the need for a pool ? Great to have but needed in Evanston with a beach.

        Will other divisions in Evanston want similar improvements/additions ?

        Sounds like everyone [at least in that area] is being promised something so they will support it–but nothing is free. Taxes to payoff bonds, over budget cost [there always are], maintenance and other regular costs ?

        1. Crown uses
          I never could figure out why Evanston needs extra libraries…..the other suburbs have only one…doesn’t make sense. Probably a lot of the people who promise money will think they are getting special accommodations for their needs……It’s plans are for a huge center…with programs that are generally expensive, or elite sports. It seems to be getting out of control. Wasn’t it supposed to be just a newer more modern ice rink with party rooms and a bigger gym? Now it sounds like a giant sports complex..with a library and other additions, and if it costs money to attend, there will probably be a lot of empty areas not getting used……if it has lots of party rooms, it’s going to need a huge well-equipped kitchen…classrooms…..workout areas, etc….
          Maybe there should be just a wonderful fixing-up of the old place……do it in sections……it has to wind up being a lot more money than planned..that’s what usually happens to projects..not to mention staffing and maintenance, etc…….any comments about this ever-growing behemoth?

        2. Cost to the disadvantaged

          Any Sport at an elite level becomes prohibitively expensive for disadvantaged children. Classes at the Parks and Recreation level are very affordable and are the base clientele of any skating program. Anyone thinking or saying otherwise is not telling the truth.

          1. Affordable classes???
            Nobody can define “affordable”….my cousin can’t afford programs, even with the 50% scholarships… say that people are not telling the truth is making a blanket statement that does not apply to all.

          2. Compare to other suburban rinks

            Compare Crown Classes and Practice Ice costs to other Suburban Rinks. 

          3. Life and reality

            Well, ummm. If you have made it in ANY sport or conviction to the elite level, I am sure it is expensive to not only get there, but to compete. It's called life and reality. Please, stop with grievances.

      2. Seating, etc….
        There are a few skating events that take place, requiring quite a bit of seating……the winter ice show, hockey games, tournaments, etc…..usually, as at Skokie & Wilmette…the bleachers extend the width of the ice sheet…because there is room for them……whether or not they get filled up.

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