Revised preliminary plans for Evanston’s new Robert Crown Center presented Thursday evening show a more compact version of the project

The building footprint is reduced by 10 percent to 90,000 square feet from the June version of the plans. Major factors in achieving that reduction include:

  • switching from one Olympic and one smaller NHL size rink to two NHL rinks,
  • reducing the total spectator space in the rinks and devoting most of it to one rink, and
  • combining separate fitness and dance rooms into a single, smaller space.

The new first and second floor layouts for the building.

Andy Tinucci of Woodhouse Tinucci Architects told residents meeting in the existing Crown Center’s gym that by doing more detailed studies of parking demand, the project team was able to determine that 225 parking spaces, rather than 300 called for in the June design, would be sufficient.

Andy Tinucci.

And with a more efficient layout of the parking lot, the space devoted to parking is cut by a third to 80,000 square feet, while the capacity is reduced by only a quarter.

The amount of space devoted to sports fields is trimmed by about 6 percent, to 234,000 square feet in the new plans while the area devoted to landscaping increases by 8 percent to 274,000 square feet.

The new site plan, with parking on the Main Street side of the site.

Tinucci said the building design would include large amounts of glass to let ample light in and reduce the need for artificial light.

The steel frame structure is planned to also have metal exterior panels, perhaps with brick near ground level to reduce the need for maintenance.

The outdoor recreation fields are planned to have artificial turf and field markings would be changed seasonally to accommodate different sports.

Tinucci said it was too early in the planning process to determine how adequate parking would be provided during the transition period after the new building is open while the existing recreation center still occupies much of the site.

While residents at the meeting raised a variety of concerns — from possible increases in parking demand on neighborhood streets to the appearance of the building from across Dodge Avenue — the plans also drew praise for successfully “putting together the jigsaw puzzle” of competing goals for the project.

The city is accepting feedback on the plans online and the presentation from Thursday’s meeting is scheduled to be added to the city’s project page later today.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Studio Rink?

    What about the smaller rink for skating and broomball parties?  The price is doable, and these can’t be put onto a large, sectioned-off rink.  It’s impractical…and not private.

    1. New building should keep studio rink

      Losing the studio rink is a mistake. It’s incredibly valuable for smaller kids, mite hockey, and smaller classes, which comrprise a bulk of the programming at RC.

  2. Olympic Rink

    We would benefit greatly by having an olympic size rink. It would help to bring more revenue to the city by hosting more competions.

    1. feasibility

      Competitions are not a daily/weekly thing.   Studio Rink rentals are, and bring in thousands from private lessons, broomball league and rentals, and private skating parties.   The general public needs to be considered..not just those whose kids are in, or who want to see competitions.   This is supposed to be a public facility..for the general public to utilize all the time.   The city can’t afford to have Evanston people rent ice from Skokie and Wilmette..who both offier those options.

      1. The Studio is nice for

        The Studio is nice for birthday parties and broomball, yes, but is ultimately worthless. It’s too cramped for Public Skating, and unfortunately Public Skating is now crammed in there at any time a working adult can get to. This hurts Basic Skills kids, since Public Skating is the most sensible and economical option for their practice. You can’t have Freestyle Classes in there, I don’t care what age the skaters are. No Skating Coach worth their salt would tell a kid to take a freestyle class in the studio. Ice Shows shut out Hockey, because Hockey and Speed can’t work around the sets. Hockey Tournaments and Speed Skating Meets shut out Figure Skating. Growth of any one program can’t happen without expense of another. With all programs growing, two rinks eases the pain. I feel like this is more a cry to keep to the safe past rather than move forward. Yes, Skokie and Wilmette offer a Studio. Fine. But mirroring our neighbors doesn’t differentiate us from them. Rink partitions exist, and digging in your heels slows everyone down.

        1. studio rink stuff

          I guess what I meant to say was, there should be two full sheets, but keep the studio for affordable parties, rentals, and privates…..that amounts to thousands of dollars coming in.  It also works for the beginning hockey programs..and broomball.  Wilmette and Skokie have larger studio rinks…..Heartland calls theirs a training rink…it’s still a totally usable sheet to have at any rink that has growing programs.   I’ve never seen any freestyle class out there…’s an improbable thought.  And…the birthday parties and broomball rentals/parties, generally take place on prime time slots, Keeping them on a studio sheet means more large rink slots for the bigger probrams that need them.  Just sayin’…….. 

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