Metro Rec Plex nears completion

BY SUSAN J. MEISTER
LEBANON ADVERTISER
A sneak peek of the dasher boards in the pro rink at the McKendree Metro Rec Plex. (Submitted Photo)

A sneak peek of the dasher boards in the pro rink at the McKendree Metro Rec Plex. (Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – Area residents have watched construction progressing on the MetroRecPlex since the groundbreaking ceremony at the corner of corner of Troy Scott Road and U.S. Highway 50 since the groundbreaking ceremony last October. Kim Smallheer, General Manager, reports that the RecPlex is about 90 percent complete.

“There are lots of details and lots of finish work at the end, but it’s coming together,” Smallheer said. “Power is being turned on incrementally and heat and water will be with us by mid-December.  We are currently finishing up interior painting and installing wall tile and flooring.  Bleachers, laundry equipment, and scoreboards have arrived and are waiting for installation.  We expect lockers to arrive in the next week and we’ll begin installing the boards and glass in the ice rinks early in December.  We’re ready to have our walking track installed and our weight and cardio equipment will be here in mid-December.  Rec Plex Drive and are parking lot are ready for paving.

“We were hoping for a soft opening for members starting on December 9,” Smallheer continued, “(but) we’ve moved that date to just before Christmas and hope to stay on track for that target.” He added that a grand opening is planned for early January 2017.

The completed MetroRecPlex will include two NHL-sized ice rinks, a championship swimming pool, a recreational swimming pool, a half-court basketball court, a fitness facility, a walking track and office space. Upon completion, this facility will be open to the public as well as home to the McKendree University’s hockey and aquatic teams and the Southern Illinois Ice Hawks youth hockey association.

“McKendree ice hockey and aquatic teams have been practicing in alternate locations for the entire fall semester,” Smallheer explained. “When those student-athletes return from their Christmas break, they’ll be chomping at the bit to practice and compete in their brand new home.  Practices start in early January and, by mid-January, we’ll be hosting our first home swimming and ice hockey events.”

Memberships for the public are now available. Full details are on the website, www.metrorecplex.com, or by contacting Janelle Hensler, Director of Member and Fitness Services, at 618-589-3800. Tours of the facility are open to the public every Thursday evenings, beginning at 6 p.m.

In addition, anyone interested in employment opportunities can download an application form from the website and bring it to the office trailer across from the MotoMart service station at the intersection.