To some, it may seem like just yesterday that the Reed-Custer School District sought to build a special use building to house athletic events for those in the school district.
But this fall, the district's field house marked a milestone, by reaching its 20 year anniversary. Now, the school district is thanking the public and showcasing a little bit of what the field house has to offer to the taxpayers who help support it.
The field house opened its doors in September 1992. On Saturday, Dec. 8, the district will mark that 20th anniversary with a free celebration and open house event from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The open house will feature pizza, cake, cookies, membership deals and specials, as well as a health and wellness fair featuring local health and medical professionals. The open house will also offer tours of some of the upgrades the field house has undergone in the past year, including new equipment, flooring, and energy efficient lighting in the fitness center and weight rooms.
Other upgrades include new elliptical machines, new rubber flooring in the weight room, and weight rack towers which allow one piece of equipment to do the job of three.
"It's a lot more efficient, we can put more people in there," said Rob Lathrop, Reed-Custer School District Athletic Director, who also serves as director of the field house. "It's beneficial to our PE classes, our sports teams as well as the people who use the field house weight room as well. So that's a big improvement in that area as well."
Lathrop said that membership at the field house has gone up over the past year, thanks in part to a partnership with Duffy Fitness. Owner Dan Duffy provides group fitness classes and personal training services at the field house, and will conduct sample classes of some of those offerings at the open house.
"People can try as many as they want of those, there's no charge for them, they can try them and see if they like them," Lathrop said. Sample classes will include Zumba, Yoga, boot camp and spin. Lathrop also noted that the field house is hosing "Community Days" all this week, where members of the public can drop in and use the facility free of charge.
"We're able to offer not only the fitness room and the weight equipment that we have, but now we have, on top of that, group fitness classes and personal training services that people can take advantage of if they choose to," Lathrop said.
Field house memberships are open to residents in the Reed-Custer School District, as well as to those in surrounding communities such as Wilmington, Coal City, Diamond, Gardner and South Wilmington.
"We've got this great field house, which is a tremendous facility," Lathrop said. "There's nothing like it between here and Joliet. So people who like to run or walk in the winter time, there's really no better place to do it than right here at the field house."
For those who remember when the field house was new, things might not seem so different from the outside than the did 20 years ago. But Lathrop said that a multitude of changes, especially in the past year or so, have turned the field house into a top of the line fitness facility on the inside.
"Although the physical facility is the same, we've updated a lot of our equipment to make it current with what people would expect when they walk into a modern health club," Lathrop noted.
The field house underwent a period where is was not being used to its full potential, and went over a year without a director at the helm. But much of that has changed.
"We've really worked aggressively on a very tight time schedule... to update things and bring them current and really make the field house something that the community can be proud of again," Lathrop said. "Things had fallen into disrepair and we had some maintenance issues, but we've really worked hard over the last year and a half to bring it up to date and freshen everything up and make not only aesthetic changes like paint, new carpeting and new flooring, but also to update the equipment and update our fitness offerings as well."
The Reed-Custer Field House is located directly behind the high school and middle school campus. The Field House is open in December Monday through Friday from 5 to 7:30 a.m., and 6 to 8 p.m. The Field House is also open Sundays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The facility is closed on Saturdays in December. The building will also be closed for Christmas on Dec. 23, 24 and 25. Field House hours change by the month, and schedules and membership rates are available in the Field House lobby.