Like a interesting flower springing up along the Fox River, the new Fox Valley Park District’s Cole Center took me by surprise a couple weeks ago. I don’t know if I just haven’t taken the Illinois bridge over the river in a while or if I just didn’t notice the construciton but whatever the case, I had some time today to stop by and check out the new building. Located just west of River street and the Fox River itself along Illinos on the west side of Aurora, the Cole Center was designed to consolidate the Fox Valley Park District administration, operations and maintenance in one location. Where there was once a fairly spartan factory/light industrial complex, a stylish office building has taken root. The Kluber, INC. team of architects and engineers have worked their magic and really transformed the existing space into one of the nicest looking projects I’ve seen in Aurora since the Police Headquarters.
I’m not the only one taking note. Towards the end of February, the Conservation Foundation presented the Fox Valley Park District with the 2011 Sustainable Development Award for the use of sustainable and environmentally friendly design elements in the new Cole Center. Some of the highlights will include LED lighting, a rainwater re-use and storage system, low water requirement landscaping, a permeable paver block parking lot and many others. In addition, the use of natural stone on the exterior and use in interior finishes really makes a nice effect. A natural stone fireplace and columns constructed with the same natural stone that is used in the landscaping and entry sign seem to tie together the outside and inside of this building.
Things are not done yet at the Cole Center. As you can see from the photos, there’s lots of work being done on landscaping currently.If the property looks this good now, I can only imagine what it will look like when all of the work is completed. Next time you’re in the area, or biking down the path that runs along the west side of the Fox River north of town, stop in and check it out.