O'Fallon: Sports

Chamber honors McKendree MetroRecPlex for 'positive impact to local economy'

An aerial shot of the McKendree MetroRecPlex.
An aerial shot of the McKendree MetroRecPlex. Provided

The McKendree MetroRecPlex is a new, full-service, state-of-the-art sports complex that offers two NHL-sized ice rinks, an aquatic center fit with a 10-lane championship swimming pool, a contemporary fitness area and many other amenities.

The O'Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce selected the MetroRecPlex for it's 42nd Annual Salute to Business Awards recipients, specifically the Economic Impact Award.

"We are so honored to be presented with the Economic Impact award by the O’Fallon/Shiloh Chamber of Commerce for the development of the McKendree MetroRecPlex," said Dean Oelze, president of Nashville, Ill.-based developer S.I. Strategy LLC, as well as, complex founder and managing member.

With a 15-acre footprint at the corner of East U.S. Highway 50 and Scott-Troy Road, the 160,000-square-foot facility is located at 205 Rec Plex Dr., where memberships and daily passes can be purchased for use of the facility and all its features.

In 2013, Oelze, announced plans for the multimillion dollar project. In February of last year, the complex opened its doors to the public.

"When we built the MetroRecPlex, our goal was to fill a void in the marketplace to build a first-in-class ice, aquatics and fitness center for competitive and recreational use," Oelze said.

Since, over 100 jobs have been created and boosted the local economy.

The fitness center offers everything to meet members' individual needs for training and fitness classes. The state-of-the art cardio area features the latest in equipment ranging from treadmills, ellipitcals, stationary bikes, stairmills and more. The weight room features the latest innovations in free weight training equipment and access to trainers to help assist people in achieving the highest level of fitness they desire. Several classes, from aqua fitness and yoga to boxing cycling, help make exercise fun.

"Prior to opening, there was no ice rink or competitive swimming venue in the region. We wanted to build a center that young people and collegiate athletes could use to train and compete and at the same time be a place for families to learn to live healthy lifestyles," Oelze said.

The two hockey rinks serve as home to several organizations in the area, including the Southern Illinois Ice Hawks, O'Fallon Township High School Panthers Hockey Club and McKendree University Ice Hockey. Both rinks have sizable viewing areas with the capacity to seat large crowds. One of the rinks serves multiple purposes, including use for concerts and special events throughout the year. Seating capacity for the event rink arena during ice events will be in excess of 2,000 spectators. At the time of a special event, such as a concert, the facility will have seating for 3,500 spectators.

"In our first year, we have been embraced by the community with thousands of members and nearly half a million attendees to hockey games, swim tournaments, corporate events and community events like our Trunk or Treat, Skate with Santa and most recently our Easter egg hunt," Oelze said.

The aquatic center is a equipped with a championship 10-lane competition pool and is home of McKendree University's swimming teams and the US Seahawks swim team. It is available to host regional aquatic events also. “Fast” pool technology allows splash-back water to flow easily over lane lines and pool gutters. There's an 8-by-14-foot, wall-mounted video board and bleacher seating for 600 spectators.

The pool measures 25 yards x 26.1 meters and holds 500,000 gallons of water, which is kept at a cool 79 degrees. The shallow end is 8 feet deep. The deep end is 14 feet deep. There are two 1-meter diving boards, two 3-meter diving boards and one 5-meter diving platform.

The recreational pool holds 145,000 gallons of water. Designed in three segments for members to enjoy, access to recreation pool is also available through steps, ladders, and ADA lift. "Zero depth entry” gradually increases to a depth of 4 feet. The features mean the pool is great for parents with the little ones, student-athletes undergoing rehabilitation, persons in wheelchairs, or persons with mobility issues.

Another section features two lap lanes with a constant depth of 4 ½ feet. The final section features 4 deep-water lap lanes with depths ranging from 5 feet to 6 feet.

Oelze continues to push for development of the 40-acre plot that houses the MetroRecPlex, as well as surrounding vacant land on the corner of East U.S. Highway 50 and Scott-Troy Road where motorists can easily access Interstate 64.

"This is only the beginning. The MetroRecPlex is serving as the catalyst for future development of the Four Points Development. In the next few months, we will be unveiling some exciting new businesses which will help serve the greater O’Fallon area," Oelze said.

Included in its initial development proposal, S.I. Strategy included plans for a hotel, pharmacy, gas station, fast food restaurant and coffee shop next to the MetroRecPlex, calling the area “Four Points Center.”