Highland News Leader

Highland’s community center to get important upgrade over next few months

Months after rejecting bids due to high cost estimates, Highland’s city council voted to approve an in-budget bid to remove and replace heating and cooling at the Weinheimer Community Center Monday night.

The city council gave final approval to the project, awarding a bid to Kalmer HVAC Services, LLC to remove and replace the center’s current heating and air conditioner system for $99,775.

Parks and Recreation Director Mark Rosen said the new HVAC system is a big boost for the community center, which he calls a Highland landmark. He said the old system only has one thermostat for the entire building.

With the new system, he said, each room will have its own temperature control.

“I think it’s going to be much more comfortable,” Rosen said. “I think it’s going to be a huge asset for the center.”

The Weinheimer
The Weinheimer Community Center, located at 1100 Main St. in Highland, Illinois. Megan Braa mbraa@bnd.com

That’s especially important during this time of year, Rosen said, as the center is the city’s emergency heating and cooling shelter.

It’s expected the new HVAC will cut energy costs at the center as well. The city will spend one-third of the amount it currently sends on powering the building, Rosen said.

“Not only that will it be a more efficient system, but we also expect to see some considerable savings,” Rosen said.

Work on the building could start as soon as next week and will most likely be finished in early March. He said the center won’t be closed during that period for the project and events should be unaffected.

He added that down the line there could be more work done to the center, like upgrading the electronics in the upstairs meeting room of the center and other smaller upgrades.

The center was shut down briefly over the holiday season due to an issue with the building’s sewage. Those issues have since been fixed.

In the past, the city council discussed building a senior center, which would provide a more handicap accessible community center. But the project hasn’t been discussed in some time.

Rosen said he hopes that’s the last of center’s troubles for a while. The building is a center for recreation in the area, especially for seniors. He said last year the center had somewhere between 10,000 to 15,000 visitors participate in its many events and activities.

Built more than 50 years ago, the center is symbolic in Highland in many ways.

“For people that are 45 and up, that was their main hub for recreation,” Rosen said. “Everything was run out of there and we want to do what we can to keep that building operable.”