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Activity Center

New Places to Play

New Activity Center at Techny Prairie Park and Fields
Setting sights on a future of active play, health and fitness for the community, Northbrook Park District officials broke ground Wednesday, July 10 on your new Activity Center at Techny Prairie Park and Fields on the six-acre parcel purchased in 2011.

The Activity Center addresses four of the Top 5 Priorities for Investment for Programs, as identified in the CMP Community Survey:

  1. Fitness and Wellness – including indoor walking/running track
  2. Active Adult Programs – cardio and yoga classes
  3. Senior Programs – focus on wellness
  4. Open Gyms – all ages programming



The Activity Center is located in Techny Prairie Parks and Fields on an open six-acre parcel. The 44,200 square foot building is oriented along the east-west axis to maximize its solar exposure to the south for optimized daylighting and energy efficiency while taking advantage of great views of Anetsberger Golf Course and pond on the north. Approximately 150 parking spaces are added on the south side of the building and connected to the current parking lot across Anets Drive for shared use between building and other park activities.

Photo - Activity Center Gymnasium Flooring Complete

November 12, 2020


  • Tile setters are finishing in the locker rooms and restrooms and need to finish a drinking fountain alcove in the gymnasium
  • All drywall installation, taping and mudding is complete
  • Restroom and locker room fixture installation including, sinks, toilets, partitions, etc. has begun
  • Hardwood flooring installation for the gymnasium and two fitness studios has been completed
  • All other floor coverings have been completed except for the main cardio/fitness area
  • Installation of the fitness service desk is 60% completed
  • HVAC-testing and balancing of the units is in progress
  • PV panels have all been wired and are being tested

October 8, 2020


  • Final installation of the front vestibule door and gym doors is in progress
  • Ceiling tile and drywalled ceiling is in progress
  • Interior lighting and outlet installation are ongoing
  • Rough plumbing is complete
  • Running track flooring installation is in progress
  • Floor tile and carpet in the offices is in progress
  • Interior painting continues in the various areas of the building
  • Landscape plant installation is nearly complete
  • Interior Trespa trim work is 75% completed
  • All RTU have been started for the heating season
  • Sprinkle installation is completed
  • Installation of the wood floors for the gym and two fitness studios has begun
  • Installation of the solar panels is 75% complete
  • Tile installation in the locker rooms has begun
  • Installation of the cabinets for the offices and various programming rooms is in progress
  • Exterior sidewalk installation is complete
  • Asphalt repair and the installation of the final layer of asphalt for the parking lot is complete

Two-week Schedule

  • Parking lot striping
  • Installation of the elevator
  • Painting of the lines for the gym floor
Photo - Activity Center Gymnasium Floor Installation, October 2020
Photo - Activity Center Construction Interior Gym and Walking Track

August 5, 2020


  • Ongoing installation of the doors and windows….approximately 90% complete
  • Wall framing for offices and fitness rooms completed
  • Dry wall installing has begun in the offices and gym
  • Rough electrical and HVAC is ongoing
  • Rough plumbing is complete
  • Walking track rails are approximately 95% complete
  • Landscape grading and plant installation has begun
  • Exterior Trespa trim work has begun around the windows

Two-Week Schedule

  • Continue installation of doors and windows
  • Exterior Trespa wood installation continues

Activity Center Construction Time Lapse July 2020

Photo - Activity Center Construction walking/running track

July 10, 2020


  • Ongoing installation of the doors and windows – approximately 75% complete
  • Wall framing for offices and fitness rooms – 85% complete
  • Electrical, plumbing and HVAC is ongoing
  • Walking/running track rails are approximately 65% complete
  • Gym ceiling painting has begun
  • Landscape grading and plant installation has begun

Two-Week Schedule

  • Continue installation of doors and windows
  • Begin exterior Trespa wood installation
  • Start-up of Roof Top Units to begin conditioning the air for future gym floor installation
  • Begin dry-wall installation on the walls
  • Sprinkler system installation

Activity Center Construction Time Lapse June 2020

Photo - Activity Center Overhead View

June 15, 2020

  • Roof is complete
  • Exterior wall painting is complete, interior pre-cast wall painting has begun
  • Window installation has begun with half of the second-floor windows having been installed
  • All concrete floors have been poured
  • Rough Framing of lockers rooms, multipurpose room, office, childcare room, restrooms and mechanical rooms is ongoing
  • Rough in of the electrical, plumbing and HVAC is ongoing
  • Site grading of the exterior has begun
  • Tree planting has begun
  • Perimeter sidewalks installation is 75% complete

Activity Center Construction Time Lapse May 2020

Photo - Activity Center Construction 5-11-2020

May 15, 2020

  • Rooftop units are being installed
  • Installation of the roof is 90% complete
  • Pouring of the concrete floors has begun
  • Rough-in plumbing and electrical continues
  • Steel framing for the suspended walking/jogging track is installed
  • The second coat of paint on the exterior has begun
  • Final exterior site grading has begun—this includes the layout of sidewalks

Activity Center Construction Time Lapse March-April 2020

Photo - Activity Center Interior Progression 4-15-2020

April 16, 2020


  • Installation of roof insulation followed by the final roof membrane
  • Roof drains are being connected to the storm sewers
  • Caulking/sealing the seams between the pre-cast wall panels
  • Final prep and patching of the concrete walls


  • Continuation of the roof installation
  • Painting of the exterior walls
  • Begin installation of the steel for the running track
  • Begin rough framing for the doors and windows
  • Begin rough layout of the plumbing and electrical
Photo - Activity Center Construction 3-21-2020

March 30, 2020

  • Steel contractors continue to work on the roof decking and will begin to erect the steel for the mezzanine
  • Plumbing contractor is installing the PVC pipes for the roof drains
  • Contractors for the pre-cast panels continue to grout and patch the panel lifting areas and welding joints
  • Coordination between the various Trades is ongoing

Activity Center Construction Time Lapse February 2020

Photo - Crane at Activity Center

February 15, 2020

  • The crane is assembled at the project site, ready for the next step in the construction of the Activity Center.
  • The pre-cast concrete panels will be shipped and staged onsite in preparation for erecting the building walls.
Photo Activity Center Construction 1-6-2020

January 13, 2020

  • The stormwater sewer lines have been completed.
  • Staff are conducting an ongoing review of equipment submittals both for the furniture and fixtures inside the building and also for the mechanical systems.
Photo Activity Center Construction 12-10-19

December 10, 2019

A mockup was completed of the precast concrete wall panels that will comprise the envelope of the building. A mockup is a small scale version of a typical precast wall panel that is reviewed to ensure the aesthetics and quality are acceptable prior to fabrication of the actual precast concrete wall panels for the building. These mockups indicated an example of a window opening and how the form liner design appears. The form liner creates the band of horizontal planks at varying depths. The mockup has not been painted, this is the raw unfinished concrete. The building’s precast concrete wall panels will be painted which will conceal any discoloration of the raw concrete. All precast concrete wall panels are currently being fabricated.

NConstruction Image Nov. - Activity Centerovember 5, 2019

  • Site work is progressing.
  • The concrete parking lot curbs, most light pole bases, and the trash enclosure pad have been poured.
  • The lower layer of parking lot asphalt has been installed.
  • Underground piping for electric, water and sewer utilities is being routed in trenches throughout the site.
  • Final coordination of precast concrete panels and structural steel framing is happening to release the contractors for the fabrication of the structure and envelope of the building.

Activity Center Construction Time Lapse October-November 2019

6 Foundation Wall Forms, Precast Embeds

October 2019

The building’s foundation was constructed. Exterior wall and interior column locations have been excavated for the foundations. The base of the foundation is called a footing, wood formwork is built and steel reinforcing bars (rebar) are laid out and then concrete is poured. Once the footings are complete the foundation wall is formed on top of the center of the footing using metal formwork. The rectangular-shaped formwork layout is the elevator pit, notice the steel rebar that reinforces the concrete foundation wall. Steel embed plates are provided at the top inside edge of the foundation wall that will be used to secure the precast concrete panels.

4 Rain Garden Installation

September 2019

Site utility piping and structures were delivered to the site and the ground was trenched to install them. Rain gardens at the parking lot were dug out and backfilled with stone.

Activity Center Construction Time Lapse August-September 2019

2 Final Site Grading

August 2019

The overall site was graded for the parking lot and a flat pad was created for the building. Subsurface geopier supports were laid out with pink ground flags and installed.

Groundbreaking Dirt Dig

July 2019 – Groundbreaking

Northbrook Park District Board members and employees along with representatives from design team—Wight & Company and construction—Corporate Construction attended a groundbreaking ceremony held on July 10, 2019. With heavy equipment on-site and active participation from the Park District project team—the ground was officially broken and dirt moved!



Site Plan Overhead View

The Activity Center was designed by award-winning architectural and design team Wight & Company.

  • The new Activity Center features:
    • Indoor walking/running track
    • Multipurpose gymnasium for basketball, pickleball and volleyball
    • Fitness space for individual cardio, strength training and group fitness
    • Multipurpose room and office space
  • Membership and program information will be available in July 2020.

Rendering of Fitness Center and Fitness Rooms
Interior view of fitness center with fitness rooms on second floor
Rendering of Activity Center Gym
Interior view of gymnasium with basketball, volleyball and pickleball courts
Rendering of Fitness Center and Track
Interior view of fitness center with running/walking track on second floor
Trail Through Time Inspiration Painting

The building decor will be inspired by a painting titled Trail Through Time, which the District purchased at the Northbrook Plein-Air Painting Festival, that shows what Techny Prairie Park and Fields looked like nearly a century ago. The colors featured in Trail Through Time by Nyle Gordon, an American artist, will be carried throughout the building, and the original painting will be on display in the Center.



Logo Net Zero Energy BuildingIncorporating the Northbrook Park District’s mission of environmental stewardship, the Activity Center will be constructed as a Net Zero Energy Building—a highly energy-efficient facility with the total calculated amount of energy used by the building being equal to or less than the amount of renewable energy created on-site.

The highly efficient building design includes:

    • An array of solar panels on the roof
    • HVAC systems and mechanical equipment with the highest efficiency ratings
    • Increased insulation values in the walls and roof
    • High-performing windows and strategic window placement to help regulate indoor temperature
    • LED lighting throughout the building and parking lot
    • Occupancy sensors in rooms and daylight sensors in perimeter spaces
    • EPA Indoor Air Plus requirements for paint and materials

Grant Information

  • The Northbrook Park District is receiving a $1.78 million grant from Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation which will fund construction and materials to achieve the Net Zero Energy building status.
  • The Net Zero Energy Building Program awards grants to nonprofit, government and higher education organizations for exemplary buildings that maximize energy efficiency.
  • Over a one-year period, projects must achieve a Net Zero Energy building performance (or better). Net Zero Energy buildings offset their own energy consumption by generating required energy on-site from renewable resources.
  • While the District can receive 100% of the grant funding, it is dispersed in three phases and is based on net zero performance of the building.
  • Receipt of the grant makes funding available for the District’s ongoing Capital Improvement Plan.
  • In order to qualify for the grant, the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation requires that the building receive a third-party certification ensuring the building is aggressively efficient in its energy use.
  • This building is slated to receive two certifications, PHIUS+ and Source Zero Certifications, both from the Passive House Institute US.


  • The Activity Center is part of the 2018-2022: New Places to Play initiative based on resident input and aligned with the District’s 10-year Comprehensive Master Plan.
  • Construction began for the new Activity Center after a groundbreaking ceremony held on July 10, 2019 at Techny Prairie Park and Fields.
  • The 44,200 square foot building will feature space for fitness and wellness—including an indoor walking and running track, a gymnasium for pickleball, basketball, camps and other activities and multipurpose rooms.
  • Membership and program information will be available in July 2020.


  • Over the last 10 years, Northbrook Park District has consistently surveyed residents to learn how well the District’s parks, facilities and programs are meeting your needs and expectations. This information informed the development of a 10-year master plan for the Northbrook Park District, completed in 2017.
  • Resident priorities for investment over the next 10 years include adding indoor program space; updating existing facilities; establishing new parks and open space; and creating a community-wide trail/bike network.
  • In response to resident priorities, and as an initial initiative of the Master Plan, the Park District launched 2018-2022: New Places to Play—an infrastructure improvement plan that addresses the first two master plan priorities: adding indoor programming space and updating existing facilities.
  • The District is building a new Activity Center on the six-acre piece of Park District land at Techny Prairie Park and Fields, upgrading the golf course, clubhouse and driving range at Sportsman’s Country Club and initiating the planning phase for improvements to the park and facilities at Meadowhill Park.
  • As a result of smart fiscal planning, the Northbrook Park District is in a position to move forward with the construction of New Places to Play without increasing taxes. The District will issue bonds and use reserve money earmarked for these projects.
  • Construction on the Activity Center is expected to be complete in early 2021.

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