Spotlight on Southwestern Illinois Commercial Construction

Richard E. Workman Sports & Wellness Complex, Effingham, Poettker Construction Co., Inc.

p15 wellnessA rendering of the Richard E. Workman Sports & Wellness Complex underway in Effingham.By KERRY SMITH
    Re-evaluating the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system planned for a new fitness center in Effingham, enabled Breese-based Poettker Construction Co. to save the client nearly $500,000 and move forward with the project.
    After competitive bids on the future Richard E. Workman Sports & Wellness Complex came in over the client’s budget in June 2014, the Effingham Park District needed to rethink plans for bringing the two-story, 80,000-square-foot, $14.6 million project back in line, Poettker Senior Project Manager Dave Schlueter said.
    Completion of the project, located directly off of Interstate 70 in Effingham, is scheduled for January.
    Schlueter said Keith Poettker and the construction company’s pre-construction team worked with subcontractors – in tandem with project architect Holabird & Root (Chicago) – to produce a retooled, doable project within the client’s original budget.
    “We’re not sacrificing any of the facility’s quality and are maintaining all the recreational features the client wanted,” said Schlueter, “but our re-evaluation and cost-reduction suggestions with alternative materials and systems made it possible to meet the original budget and keep this project moving forward.”
    Although this is not the only family fitness center in Effingham, it’s the first one being constructed by Poettker Construction. Schlueter said the firm’s extensive experience in gymnasiums, coupled with his prior experience in building fitness centers, paves the way for this Effingham project.
    “Our biggest challenge will be in and around the pool area,” Schlueter said, referring to a 25-meter, eight-lane competition swimming pool. “Erecting the masonry walls around the pool, installing the duct work and lighting as well as the rest of the high work needs to be 100 percent complete before we start the pool. We will leave a section of the wall open to get equipment in and out while we build the pool. We hope to start construction on the pool in mid-June.”
    Basketball and volleyball courts, a suspended running track, locker rooms, concessions, offices and rentable space for gatherings are also features of the center.
    The facility has been named after Dr. Richard (Rick) Workman, founder and chief executive officer of Heartland Dental in Effingham. Workman and his wife, Angie, donated $6 million toward the project.
    Additional funding for the center’s construction has been made possible through community donations, the city of Effingham and the Effingham Park District. The district, according to Schlueter, plans to lease a portion of the space to St. Anthony’s Hospital for the hospital’s wellness initiatives.