If you’re up early Friday morning, and anywhere near Wilmette’s Centennial Park, don’t be surprised if you see a helicopter hovering over the park’s tennis complex. It’s not a military exercise; it’s a delivery.
The helicopter is placing four new air conditioning units on top of the tennis courts, equipment that will supplant air conditioning and dehumidification apparatuses that are four decades old.
“These were dehumidification units from back in 1975 when (the Centennial building) was built. And in at least one case, the unit was older, because it was brought from another building and dates from 1972,” parks and planning superintendent Bill Lambrecht said Aug. 21.
Centennial pool, which sits next to the tennis complex and usually opens at 6:30 a.m., will keep its doors shut until 8:30 a.m. The parking lot will be closed until 8 a.m. as a safety precaution.
Once the new units are in place, work crews can remove the old units, which are actually inside the building, in the area over tennis locker rooms. Those areas will then be covered and roofed, Lambrecht said. The entire project will cost the district $280,000, he said.
Although construction and reconstructive work have been almost constant at Centennial, since the rain-soaked collapse of the tennis facility’s east wall in April of 2013, Lambrecht said the dehumidification unit replacement wasn’t a result of that mishap.
“This has been on our long range plan for the past 10 years,” he said.
As for the airborne air conditioning delivery, Lambrecht said the helicopters are being used because the layout of the tennis facility and its position near the pool complex render it impossible to use cranes.
“Using helicopters isn’t that unusual for something like this,” he said.
What: air conditioning units
Where: Centennial tennis facility roof
How many?: four
Delivery: By helicopter