East Peoria, IL



Illinois Central College



2.54 acres | 1.03 ha



54,000 sf | 5,020 sm



Addition and renovation  of student recreation center including fitness areas, group exercise rooms, 3-court gymnasium, trophy hall, education room, athletics department offices







       (developed as the Design Director of Dewberry)



Higher Education / Recreation



The Integration of Old and New Result in LEED Silver


Illinois Central College was founded in 1967 as a community college.  It serves all or parts of ten central Illinois counties: Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Bureau, Logan, Marshall, Livingston, McLean, Stark and Mason.  It is the seventh largest community college district in Illinois.  From its initial enrollment of 2,500 students, ICC has seen rapid growth and expansion.  Today the College serves over 10,000 students on an annual basis.


With this expansion, Illinois Central College (ICC) embarked on a path that few community colleges pursue.  ICC decided to provide more amenities to the growing population of on-campus students, and with this goal, the new CougarPlex Athletic and Recreation Center was envisioned.


The facility was planned on a compact site with inability to remove any adjacent parking.  The structure takes on the geometry of its context, bending and wrapping through the site to maximize the program, as well as imbed itself within its user’s path.   A portion of the existing performance court building (built in the 1970’s) was removed to allow for a buffer between the new and the old facility.  It is along this circulation that the connections to the competition court became the driving idea behind the interiors of the facility.  Within the new addition, a link was developed as the Hall of Fame for ICC Athletics. Trophies and memorabilia are displayed in gallery fashion in front of a backlit resin panel in ICC blue. This panel is deployed in two other key locations along the route, the main vestibule and the main desk.


The integration of these two structures resulted in an additional benefit which was the creation of an inner courtyard. The courtyard is planned to be heavily planted with native vegetation by the university’s horticulture students in the future, as well as be available for classes to be held outdoors. External field improvements were also made to the baseball and softball fields which included new bleachers and press boxes. A new soccer field was created east of the existing gymnasium.


Given the College’s commitment to sustainability multiple strategies were deployed throughout the facility.  An extensive green roof was incorporated onto the bent bar of the new addition, while all existing systems were upgraded to include more energy efficient units. Additionally, the existing athletic arena was re-cladded and fully insulated to ensure it met standards for energy efficiencies and performance.


This new Center has become the centerpiece for the improvement to student life and has earned a LEED Silver rating from the USGBC.