VIDEO: Workman Donates $5 Million for Sports Complex


Published on October 3 2013 5:33 pm
Last Updated on October 7 2013 1:31 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Dr. Rick Workman has contributed $6.1 million to the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation.  $5 million of that amount will go toward the cost of a community sports complex.

The gift was announced at Friday night's Foundation Banquet at the Thelma Keller Convention Center, where Dr. Workman and wife Angie were recognized as the Foundation's Outstanding Philanthropists for 2013.

The $5 million gift will cover the lion's share of the cost of the Sports Complex, which will be constructed and operated by the Effingham Park District.  Park District President David McDevitt said negotiations have been going on since Dr. Workman made the funds available last December.  The City of Effingham then conveyed 22 acres of land to the Park District to provide a site for the Sports Complex.  McDevitt said the complex would be located on the same site envisioned when the project was considered by the City and what was originally considered as a location for a new city library, north and west of Kluthe Pool along the northerly extension of Maple Street.

Video: Greg Sapp talks with Dr. Rick Workman about his donation, making the sports center a reality.

McDevitt said work is still being completed on the design of the complex, but said it will contain two regulation basketball courts that could be converted into three volleyball courts.  It will also contain two swimming pools, one an eight-lane competitive pool and the other a separate recreation and therapy pool.  The complex will also house a larger fitness center than was envisioned in earlier sports complex plans and an upstairs walking track.

Effingham native Greg Grunloh, who worked on earlier sports complex designs, is assisting on the design of the new complex.

Effingham Park District Director Jeff Althoff said the District has the opportunity to expand the recreational and fitness options available to the community through pursuing the complex.

Video: Jeff Althoff, David McDevitt and Jody Hightower talk with Greg Sapp about the new sports center.

The facility, to be known as the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Complex, is expected to cost $2.5 million to $3 million more than the doctor's bequest and the funds to be contributed by the Effingham Park District.  McDevitt said a fundraising effort will begin soon.  He said the effort is to be completed by March 1, 2014 and a groundbreaking ceremony is forecast for June 2014.  A 12-month construction process is expected, meaning the Complex could be open by Summer 2015.  McDevitt also said the contribution toward the project by the Park District will not result in an increase in taxes.

By the way, the other $1.1 million contributed by Dr. Workman went into a donor advised fund under his direction for various charitable endeavors.

There will be charges to use the Sports Complex, still to be determined.  Community Foundation President Joedy Hightower reminded that a $100,000 gift from St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital will be available for scholarships for those who can't afford a membership to the Complex.

The annual philanthropy award, known as the Richard C. Siemer Outstanding Philanthropist Award, is named for the original winner of the award and was sponsored this year by Midland States Bank.

The Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation, established in 1999, manages approximately $14.4 million in charitable assets.