Due to incredible community demand for additional sports fields, the Waukegan Park District decided to convert an existing 135-acre golf course to a sports complex. The Park District retained GHA as the lead consultant to provide services from initial engineering and planning through final acceptance. Major components of the plan include 14 soccer fields (one championship synthetic field), four softball fields, a 685-space parking lot, maintenance facility, concession complex, and offsite roadway improvements. Site amenities include a water “sprayground”, approximately 4 miles of pathways and walking trails, 16.5 acres of native plantings, and bioswales and rain gardens to provide additional beauty and water quality treatment.

The stormwater management system provides over 25 acre-feet of storage and an irrigation pond with a total capacity in excess of 3 million gallons. Site improvements include over 500,000 cubic yards of earthwork and 30,000 lineal feet of utilities.

GHA services included surveying, preliminary and final design, traffic engineering, off-site roadway design, wetland permitting, NPDES monitoring, construction layout, observation and management. Permits from the USACE, IEPA, Illinois Department of Transportation, Lake County Stormwater Management Commission, City of Waukegan, and Village of Beach Park were also obtained.

The primary challenge was meeting the high expectations of all review permitting agencies and obtaining permits in less than four months. Additional challenges included the complex stormwater management system and water quality issues. Earthwork balance, site circulation, parking analysis, and site lighting were also major components of the plan. The total improvement costs were $18.2 million of which the site costs were $14.1 million.