Glencoe, News

Glencoe Golf Club project in design phase; trustees discuss geothermal system for heating, cooling

As plans for the upcoming and long-anticipated renovation of the clubhouse at the Glencoe Golf Club come together, representatives from the club are seeking feedback on how to proceed with the building’s HVAC systems.

The Glencoe Board of Trustees heard an update on the golf club from general manager Stella Nanos during the board’s regular meeting on Thursday, March 21.

Plans to renovate the clubhouse have been underway since April 2023, when Glencoe voters approved a referendum allowing the Village to use up to $15 million in bond sales to fund the project.

Nanos previously told the board that the clubhouse is still in its original building on the 101-year-old golf course and surpassed its useful life in 2012.

At Thursday’s meeting, Nanos said the schematic design phase is done and the project is currently in the design development phase.

“We have reviewed 3D interior design renderings as well as exterior elevations that follow the direction of the ad-hoc design review committee,” she said. “Square footage and seating counts have been established and staff is working on design plans for the kitchen, event space, the main dining area, bar, pro shop, offices and simulators.”

Nanos said construction is expected to begin near the end of the current golf season and, if all goes as planned, will last for a year.

She added that discussions are underway regarding “various aspects of the project,” including sustainability initiatives and the HVAC system.

Those discussions led Nanos to ask the board about their interest in pursuing a geothermal HVAC system for the clubhouse.

“It is a sustainable option that reduces reliance on fossil fuels and has a lower environmental impact compared to traditional systems,” she said. “Geothermal also has fewer moving parts and can be more durable than conventional systems, leading to lower maintenance costs overtime.”

While she said it will lead to lower maintenance costs, geothermal systems also have a “significant upfront cost.” She estimated the cost to be between $350,000 and $400,000, which is “due to the need for drilling and installing a ground loop of pipes.”

At the same time, Nanos said “the (return on investment) is relatively quick, estimated to be 7-10 years due to the big savings on energy costs and maintenance costs.”

Village Manager Phil Kiraly said District 35 schools have installed geothermal systems and have either already reached their ROI or are approaching it.

“They’ve been very happy with these installations,” he said.

Kiraly also said that while the installation cost is high, “with a 7-10 year return on that investment and then perpetual from there, the energy savings is pretty dramatic, and so it’s compelling.”

Village President Howard Roin said that he likes the idea of installing geothermal, but said making sure the Village has money to pay for it is his biggest concern.

“We’re going to have a better building, and it’ll be a better investment for the community in the long run, plus it’s bottling what we want bottled, which is sustainability,” he said. “So, for all of those reasons, we’re going to have to make sure we have the money. We don’t get to print it in Glencoe.”

Trustee Gary Ruben said he was on the D35 School Board when the decision was made to install geothermal, and he believes it’s an option the golf club should pursue.

“I think this is one where it’s just a good investment along with it being a good example to the community of how we do treat sustainability very seriously,” he said.

Trustee Dudley Onderdonk asked if there were any alternative options to geothermal that are still sustainable, which Kiraly said was something he would look into.

With no trustees voicing objection, Roin asked staff to continue investigating geothermal and any potential alternatives.

“We’re interested,” he said. “It looks like it would be the smart move.”

Kiraly said he will have an updated report for trustees at the board’s April meeting.

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Peter Kaspari

Peter Kaspari is a blogger and a freelance reporter. A 10-year veteran of journalism, he has written for newspapers in both Iowa and Illinois, including spending multiple years covering crime and courts. Most recently, he served as the editor for The Lake Forest Leader. Peter is also a longtime resident of Wilmette and New Trier High School alumnus.

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