Rockford Park District Moves Ahead With Sportscore 2 Expansion

By Lindsey Holden, rrstar.com, March 9, 2016 

 
ROCKFORD, Ill.—The Rockford Park District is preparing to move ahead with another phase of its Reclaiming First facility expansions.

Park District commissioners on Tuesday awarded a $13 million construction contract to Rockford's Cord Construction Co. for the renovation and expansion of MercyRockford Sportscore 2,  8800 E. Riverside Blvd., in Loves Park. The other two phases of Reclaiming First, the Park District's plan to once again make the Rockford region an amateur sports destination, are the creation of the downtown UW Health Sports Factory and renovations to MercyRockford Sportscore 1, 1288 Elmwood Road in Loves Park.

Mega sports

Cord's work at Sportscore 2 will involve the creation of a Mega Sports Center, a 133,000 square-foot expansion that will house an indoor synthetic turf playing field that can be divided into smaller activity areas. A new connector building will include a lobby, restrooms and concessions for the Mega Sports Center and the existing Indoor Sports Center.

Hard volleyball courts, which are moving to the downtown UW Health Sports Factory, will be replaced by multi-use synthetic turf in the Indoor Sports Center.

Capital director Laura Williamson said Cord will likely start construction at Sportscore 2 in April and finish in June 2017.

John Groh, president of the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the expansion will allow the Park District to host new sports, such as rugby, lacrosse and football. The larger indoor fields, some of the biggest in the area, make it possible to run tournaments during the cold weather months, from October to April, he said.

"It's going to be a competitive and distinctive advantage for the region," Groh said.

Downtown sports

Construction on Rockford's $24.4 million downtown sports facility, which will include space for basketball, volleyball, wrestling and pickleball, is continuing on schedule, Williamson said. The Sports Factory is expected to draw half a million people to tournaments. Williamson said the Park District hopes to hold its first competitions in June.

Sportscore 1

MercyRockford Sportscore 1, which is home to outdoor soccer, softball and baseball fields is also expected to undergo renovations as part of Reclaiming First. Groh said he expects the Sportscore 1 upgrades to be "more quiet," and include parking lot and restroom fixes. But Williamson said plans haven't yet made it past the discussion phase.