ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Work on a $24 million sports complex is getting underway in Rockford. It’s a project that’s expected to improve the downtown area for families.
Bricks are crumbling at the former District 205 Administration building on South Madison Street. The 130-year-old structure was originally Rockford’s only high school so seeing it come down is a bittersweet feeling for Rockfordian Joe Marino.
“Fond memories, basketball teams, championship basketball teams, great teachers,” says Rockford resident Joe Marino.
RPS Administrators don’t seem too sad to see it go.
“My office was in the basement, the old pool for the building, it’s great to see it come down, this is going to be a tremendous boost to the downtown,” said Chief Operations Officer Todd Schmidt.
The building is coming down to provide parking space for the new sports complex at the former Ingersoll building. Construction crews are prepping inside Ingersoll as they get ready to demolish and rebuild the south wing.
“In its place will be erected a championship basketball/volleyball court which will have seating for up to 3,000 spectators to watch the number one game in the tournaments,” says City Engineer Matthew Vitner.
The rest of the 100,000 square foot future sports facility will eventually have 7 basketball courts, 14 volleyball courts, and a restaurant. With all the tournaments out-of-towners, and millions of dollars in revenue, the sports complex is expected to be a win for all of Rockford.
Vitner is referring to the hotel that’s going into the Amerock building. The two projects are working hand-in-hand, so tournament goes from out of town will have somewhere to stay.
Demolition at Ingersoll is expected to begin on Wednesday. The goal is to have the complex open by May 1 of 2016 with tournaments starting that June.