The City Council on April 17 unanimously approved 22 construction contracts for the Lake Forest Civic Center, keeping work for the City’s “100-Year Home” on budget and schedule.
When completed in late summer 2019, the Civic Center campus will house a Senior Center, Community Center, Performing Arts Center/Council Chambers and City Hall/Policing Center – the first permanent home for the 27-year-old city. The campus is referred to as the City’s 100-Year Home because it will serve as a community gathering place for generations to come. The architecture is classic Craftsman style fitting for Lake Forest and includes a 30-foot clock tower that will become an icon in the City.
A groundbreaking for the Civic Center was held last year, and construction of a parking deck is nearly complete. The $56.7 million in contracts approved Tuesday include everything from construction to landscaping. The total project, including the nearly finished parking deck, is $80 million, which is completely funded from developer-impact fees.
The roots for building the Civic Center without incurring any debt go back to 2003, when City leaders launched a comprehensive study known as the Opportunities Study to consider what to do with land deemed unnecessary when plans for a neighboring international airport were rejected. The study, which included extensive public input, led to agreements with builders that provided revenues to build the 86-acre Lake Forest Sports Park and Recreation Center for $83.5 million, the $80 million Civic Center and parking deck with other public benefits – all debt-free.
The City is also using grant funding whenever possible. Electric-vehicle charging stations in the parking deck, for example, were largely funded with a $106,000 grant from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction program. The City is saving additional money by acting as its own General Contractor.
The Civic Center will be off Commercentre Drive, between Bake Parkway and Canada Road. In January, street names were changed to create “Civic Center Drive,” an easy-to-remember address for the City’s 100-Year Home.