Park District of Oak Park Relaunches Design Competition for Field Center Renovation

OAK PARK, IL (Feb. 12, 2024) – The Park District of Oak Park today announced a design competition to renovate and/or replace Field Center, a classroom facility in Field Park. The renovation project will modernize and enhance the historic building to meet the Park District’s growing childcare and children’s programming needs.

Registration for the competition opens on February 12 and closes on March 5, 2024. Each applicant team must pre-register for the competition, and there is no application fee. Registered teams can tour Field Center and other Park District of Oak Park facilities to understand further the District’s aesthetic priorities and core values of inclusivity, accessibility and environmental sustainability.

“Inclusivity is integral to our mission as a Park District, and we have to imbue it in everything we do,” said Jan Arnold, Executive Director of the Park District of Oak Park. “It was essential to hold an open competition and implement a blind review process so that designers of all backgrounds have an opportunity to compete on the same stage as groups that are traditionally more visible.”

Improvements will include an additional classroom to support expanded day camp and after-school programming and a soundproof room and stage for recording and performance arts. “Updating and adding amenities to this historic space will help ensure it reflects our diverse community and its needs so that everyone is and feels welcome,” Arnold said.

The competition is a callback to the Field Center’s original construction: It was developed after a design competition for a “Playground Structure” in 1926 won by John Van Bergen, whose designs were also built at the Park District’s Fox, Stevenson, Andersen and Carroll Parks.

“This competition represents not just a chance to redefine an important community space, but also an opportunity to engage with the rich architectural legacy and forward-thinking spirit of Oak Park,” said Chris Lindgren, Park District of Oak Park Superintendent of Parks and Planning. “We eagerly anticipate the innovative designs that will emerge and invite our best architects, designers and creative teams to join us in this exciting journey.”

The competition jury, comprised of architects, designers and building experts from the community, will select the winning team after reviewing all submissions and interviewing the finalists. The winning team will be awarded a $1.8 million contract to complete the construction.

For more information and to participate in the competition, please contact Edith Wood at (708) 725-20217 or

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About Park District of Oak Park: The Park District of Oak Park serves the recreation needs of Oak Park’s 52,000 residents, providing nearly 8,000 programs and special events annually throughout our versatile recreation centers, 18 parks totaling 84 acres, a community recreation center, two outdoor pools, indoor ice rink, gymnastic center, the Oak Park Conservatory, Cheney Mansion and Pleasant Home. Since 1912, our high-quality programs and well-maintained parks and facilities have dependably met residents’ diverse leisure, wellness, childcare and other needs and helped enhance quality of life. Learn more at

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