Renovation, addition project nearing completion at Boulder Point community center in Boulder Hill

Exterior of the newly renovated Boulder Point recreation center at 0 Boulder Hill Pass, Boulder Hill. (Photo provided)

An extensive renovation and addition project at the Oswegoland Park District’s Boulder Point’s community center is nearing completion.

Work is expected to wrap up next month with programs resuming at the facility Jan. 10.

As registration for the new park district programs opened last week, all that is left on the project are furnishings and finishing touches.

The center is located at 0 Boulder Hill Pass, at the northeast corner of Boulder Hill Pass and Route 25, in Boulder Hill.

The project includes construction of a 3,426 square foot addition along with an enclosed entry vestibule and the revamping of the building’s exterior. Also, two new community rooms have been added and space has been increased in both the gymnastics and lobby areas.

The center has also received updated mechanics and energy efficiency improvements.

When it originally opened in 1967, the building housed Zentmyer Ford, which had been located in downtown Oswego. The current renovation project is the second in the building since it was purchased by the park district in 2009.

Boulder Point was originally constructed to house the Zentmyer Ford dealership in 1967. Here is how the building appeared shortly after it opened. (Photo provided)

“We are famous for taking old buildings and turning them into places that will benefit the community,” said Kristie Vest, superintendent of events and cultural arts for the park district.

The park district currently serves more than 20,000 households in Oswego, Boulder Hill and a portion of Montgomery.

“The space is much needed, especially now, when people are less interested in sitting in close quarters,” said Tom Betsinger, director of recreation for the park district.

The renovated lobby is designed to provide a more spacious and modern viewing area for the gymnastics programs.

Work is almost complete on the new lobby area at Boulder Point (Photo provided)

The gymnastics program has continued to operate amid the construction, while the As We Grow Preschool was temporarily closed and is set to resume in Fall of 2022. In addition to the three existing community rooms, two much larger rooms have been added for additional programming and space to rent.

“The renovation was definitely youth-oriented,” said Chad Feldotto, director of parks and planning.

Construction has proceeded as scheduled over the past eight months.

“We were very fortunate,” said Laura Finch, director of marketing and customer service for the park district. “Other than some supply-chain issues delaying the lobby furniture, everything went very smoothly.”

Everything on the interior is done and installed, and the existing lobby furniture will be used until the new furniture arrives.

Contractors install steel framework last summer for the addition to Boulder Point. (Photo provided)

The project is a byproduct of the park district’s Plan to Play, a comprehensive master plan developed in 2018 to provide a framework for investing in the park system.

“We did a community-wide needs assessment,” said Finch, “We held open houses and pop-ups to get the community’s feedback. There was even an open house held at Boulder Point.”

Plan to Play is also the product of surveys, staff and board workshops and over 25 stakeholder group interviews.

In 2019, the park district was awarded a $1,835,997 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources through the PARC (Parks and Recreation Facility Construction Act) grant program. The park district applied for the PARC grant in 2014 but was not chosen. In 2018 they were invited to re-apply and began working on construction plans for 2020.

The PARC grant will cover 75% of the $2.5 million costs, with the parks department funding the remaining 25%.

“Without the grant, it would have been very challenging,” said Feldotto.

The park district was one of eight recipients of funding from the PARC grant program. The program allocated a total of $10.1 million for Illinois parks.

“It is a highly competitive grant,” Feldotto said, “I think the state saw this as a good opportunity to create jobs.”