St. James Farm Indoor Riding Arena Improvements

Design Process Open House
Residents and forest preserve patrons attended an open house to view proposed project designs for the St. James Farm Forest Preserve indoor arena on January 30, 2016. The designs were also available online through February 29 for public comment. 

The indoor riding arena is located southeast of the preserve’s main parking lot off Winfield Road. 

Project Overview
Improvements to the indoor riding arena are part of the first phase of the St. James Farm Forest Preserve Master Plan, which the Board of Commissioners approved in 2010.

When completed, this project will not only help prolong the life of the arena and reduce future maintenance but also bring the building up to code for public use for proposed activities such as horse shows, exhibitions, riding clinics and classes, therapeutic riding programs, plant sales, indoor archery events, and meetings and receptions.

Proposed improvements include upgrades to the HVAC, electrical, and lighting systems, the installation of fire alarms and sprinklers, and modifications to doors, windows and skylights. They also include the construction of an addition with restrooms, a reception area, and multipurpose room with counters and cabinets. Exterior work will accommodate access for emergency services and modifications to the existing trail and paving to better use the open space around the indoor arena. The project will also address any stabilization or other issues that were identified in a pre-design assessment.

St. James Farm Forest Preserve is currently on well and septic, but the Forest Preserve District is working with an engineering firm on a separate project to bring city sewer and water to the site, which the District will connect at the indoor riding arena.

Project Funding
Approximately $2.1 million from Construction and Development funds and the St. James Farm McCormick Endowment funds is budgeted for the design, permitting and construction of this project.

Current Status
The Forest Preserve District has hired Cordogan Clark & Associates Inc. of Aurora, Illinois, to assess the current condition of the building and develop a project design. Project design will take place in 2016, with permitting reviews in spring 2017, and construction and renovations are expected to begin in summer 2017, to be completed in spring 2018. 

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