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St. Charles Park District unveils Baker Community Center renovations to public

Mar 22, 2017 12:15PM, Published by Neighbors Magazines, Categories: Today, News



The St. Charles Park District will hold a public open house on Thursday, April 13 from 10 am to 5 pm to celebrate the completion of renovations to the Baker Community Center.

Construction to upgrade the facilities began in the summer of 2016 and was completed in February of this year, according to Holly Cabel, Director of Parks and Recreation. 

“Our goal was to make the building more accessible and inviting for our patrons and guests,” said Cabel.

This included the installation of an elevator to allow access to all building levels; an upgraded air conditioning system for the first and second floors; ADA-compliant bathrooms on all levels; renovated kitchen facilities; reconstructed entry access to an outdoor terrace; a pergola awning over the east ramp entrance; and flooring, carpeting, and storage upgrades.

“These improvements allow us to accommodate more functions and events than we’ve been able to in the past,” said Cabel.  “An attractive east-side ramp access and elevator service throughout the building is important to people coping with mobility challenges and makes the building more functional for caterers or vendors who need to bring in equipment or other large goods,” said Cabel.

The park district worked in collaboration with the Henry Rockwell Baker Memorial Community Center Board of Trustees to design and implement the renovations.  The renovations committee consisted of Tom Anderson, John Collins and Dan Marshall, who began planning the project in August, 2015, and met twice a month to oversee each aspect of the design and construction.

“Tom has pushed us along and kept it on track,” said Dan Marshall.  “There has been a tremendous amount of momentum.”

The building was dedicated in May, 1926, as a “living memorial” from Mr. and Mrs. Edward J. Baker to their son, Henry Rockwell Baker, and to veterans of World War I.  Planned as a central meeting place for civic events and educational and entertainment programs, the Baker Community Center has been funded for the last 90 years by the Edward J. Baker Foundation Trust, according to Anderson.

“Our local Baker Community Center board has been the custodians of that trust to keep the building in good condition,” said Anderson.  “The time was right to do these renovations.”

As befitting a cornerstone of the St. Charles community with deep historic significance, the team of professionals tasked with developing the design and completing the construction all have their own deep ties to the city and the Baker Community Center.  Anderson and Marshall chose Kluber Architects +Engineers of Batavia to design the renovations.  The company’s founder, Michael Kluber, grew up in St. Charles.  Kluber Inc. was joined by Schramm Construction Corporation, JL Wagner Plumbing & Piping, and Rehm Electric Shop, all of St. Charles. 

“What is interesting is that the Wagner and Rehm companies worked on the original construction of the building 90 years ago,” said Anderson.  “We were very pleased to have local contractors working on the building, and I think they were all excited to do it because they are local businesses and this is a classic building for our community.”

Keeping the historic character of an iconic building was a key goal in the project’s design and completion. 

“We wanted to create and preserve the character of the building,” said Anderson.  To that end, the original millwork was duplicated and the distinctive animal-motif molding was preserved.  The first floor lobby was enlarged and enhanced by the addition of two ADA-compliant restrooms.  A vestibule was added to provide access to the Melvin Peterson Lounge, which can function as either a closed meeting room or be opened to the adjacent auditorium to increase the room’s marketability for wedding receptions and other large group functions.

But perhaps the biggest change to the first floor lobby area is the access to the terrace through French doors at the back of the lobby. 

“The terrace was under-utilized, which is a shame, because it is a real asset,” said Marshall.  “Once we had the vision to open the lobby to the terrace, it helped drive our concept of what the rest of the building should be.”

Of course, in a renovation project of this size in a building that dates back nearly a century, the committee realized a few surprises would be in store.  The original space that housed projection equipment to show movies in the Baker Community Center was uncovered during renovations..  “It’s still there behind the office wall,” said Cabel.  The installation of the elevator shaft required an 18-inch excavation into bedrock.  “That’s not all that unusual in this area,” said Marshall.  But the committee gained an entirely new appreciation for the work the original construction crew must have done to install the swimming pool that Mr. Baker included when the building was constructed in 1926.  “We wondered how he got all that rock out of here,” said Anderson.  “A lot of digging went on in that original work.”

Once the weather cooperates, the committee has future plans to complete an East Garden, which will include a plaza area with seating and public art, and an ADA-compliant walk way to connect the building to the parking lot on the southwest corner.

“It’s a gem of a building,” said Anderson.  “We’ve polished it into a jewel.”

For more information about the Baker Community Center Open House, contact the St. Charles Park District at 630-584-1055.




Baker Community Center


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    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • St. Therese Feast Day Mass

    10/02/2017
    11:30AM — 01:00PM

    Come celebrate the 120th anniversary of St. Therese of Lisieux's entrance into heaven! Feast ...


  • St. Therese Feast Day Mass

    10/02/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Come celebrate the 120th anniversary of St. Therese of Lisieux's entrance into heaven! Feast ...


  • Tri-Cities Exchange Club Breakfast

    10/03/2017
    07:00AM — 08:00AM

    Every Tuesday morning, 7-8am, men and women meet for breakfast at Colonial Cafe on Randall Road, ...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/03/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Wednesday Walking Club

    10/04/2017
    08:00AM — 09:00AM

    Wednesdays, April 5–October 25, 8–9 AM Free drop-in program for all ages Get fit the old-fashio...


  • Wednesday Walking Club

    10/04/2017
    08:00AM — 09:00AM

    Wednesdays, April 5–October 25, 8–9 AM Free drop-in program for all ages Get fit the old-fashio...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/04/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Learn from the Experts: Fall Tree Identification

    10/04/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    This field class will begin with an introduction to basic plant morphology needed for tree identi...


  • Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden open

    10/04/2017
    01:00PM — 04:30PM

    The Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden will return to a public hours schedule starting on Su...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/04/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • NUHS Massage Therapy Info Session

    10/04/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Are you wondering whether a career in massage therapy is right for you? Explore our Massage Thera...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Nature Tykes (for 3 year olds)

    10/05/2017
    09:30AM — 10:30AM

    In this program, for 3-year olds and their parents, grandparents or guardians, we’ll explore the ...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/05/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Senior Stroll

    10/05/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Seniors are invited to join District naturalists each month on a leisurely stroll through a Kane ...


  • Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden open

    10/05/2017
    01:00PM — 04:30PM

    The Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden will return to a public hours schedule starting on Su...


  • Little Naturalists

    10/05/2017
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    In this hour-long program for 4-5-year olds, children will discover the wonders of nature through...


  • The Holmstad Helping Hearts

    10/05/2017
    01:30PM — 02:30PM

    Findings from an Alzheimer's Association survey released in June 2017 show that while people over...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/05/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • A cooperative program between the Town and Country Library and the Kane County Genealogical Society.


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/05/2017
    08:00PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Breakfast for a Cause

    10/06/2017
    07:30AM — 09:00AM

    Please join us for breakfast, fellowship and our program: Moving Up From Poverty: Three Steps Fo...


  • Moms Connect

    10/06/2017
    09:00AM — 10:15AM

    St. John Lutheran Church at 7214 South Cass Avenue in Darien, IL will sponsor a new Bible-based s...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/06/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Story Time at Creek Bend Nature Center

    10/06/2017
    10:30AM — 11:00AM

    Treat your child to Story Times at Creek Bend Nature Center. This popular program series is for c...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/06/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • FREE Monthly Family Story Time

    10/06/2017
    05:30PM — 06:30AM

    Join us for this month's free Story Time featuring a spring theme. Spots are filling up quickly. ...


  • Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens

    10/06/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    This darkly funny farce pits the eternal battle of pure evil against innocent fuzzy goodness. Dr....


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • I Love A Piano

    10/06/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    ESO favorites Rich Ridenour, piano and Brandon Ridenour, trumpet, will bring the house down with ...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/06/2017
    08:00PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Live Entertainment: DJ

    10/06/2017
    09:00PM — 11:55PM

    Join us on historic Bourbon Street in Jambalaya at Pheasant Run Resort every Friday for live ente...


  • Women's Fellowship Breakfast

    10/07/2017
    09:00AM — 11:00AM

    St. John Lutheran Church at 7214 South Cass Avenue in Darien, IL will host a Women’s Fellowship B...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/07/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/07/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens

    10/07/2017
    03:00PM — 05:00PM

    This darkly funny farce pits the eternal battle of pure evil against innocent fuzzy goodness. Dr....


  • Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens

    10/07/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    This darkly funny farce pits the eternal battle of pure evil against innocent fuzzy goodness. Dr....


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/07/2017
    07:30PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • I Love A Piano

    10/07/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    ESO favorites Rich Ridenour, piano and Brandon Ridenour, trumpet, will bring the house down with ...


  • Live Music

    10/07/2017
    09:00PM — 11:55PM

    Join us on historic Bourbon Street in Jambalaya at Pheasant Run Resort for live bands every Satur...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/07/2017
    09:45PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Bourbon Street Brunch

    10/08/2017
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    Join us on historic Boubon Street every Sunday for a unique brunch buffet! Enjoy all your favorit...


  • Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden open

    10/08/2017
    01:00PM — 04:30PM

    The Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden will return to a public hours schedule starting on Su...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/08/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • I Love A Piano

    10/08/2017
    02:30PM — 04:30PM

    ESO favorites Rich Ridenour, piano and Brandon Ridenour, trumpet, will bring the house down with ...


  • Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens

    10/08/2017
    03:00PM — 05:00PM

    This darkly funny farce pits the eternal battle of pure evil against innocent fuzzy goodness. Dr....


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/09/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Tri-Cities Exchange Club Breakfast

    10/10/2017
    07:00AM — 08:00AM

    Every Tuesday morning, 7-8am, men and women meet for breakfast at Colonial Cafe on Randall Road, ...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/10/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Family Talk

    10/10/2017
    07:00PM — 09:30PM

    Finding an ancestor's town of origin can be exciting. Once this piece of information is found, on...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


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