It is 130,000-square-feet and it has two – yes that’s two – NHL sized ice skating rinks, two full gymnasiums, a library, a 200-meter running track, a dance studio, nine locker rooms, an art room and a child care facility. But that’s not all.

Credit: Christian Surtz

Outside there are fields for soccer, football, baseball, softball, lacrosse and field hockey. The reality is that there is so much going on at the Robert Crown Community Center, 1801 Main St., it is very likely you have no idea just how much is going on there.

Credit: Christian Surtz

That is why last Saturday, Oct. 29, dozens of the groups affiliated with the center as well as the city’s library and recreation programming staff and the Friends of the Robert Crown Center hosted “A Day in the Life of Crown,” to give people a taste of the the activities there.

There was music, dance, a chance to wander through the 6,000 square-foot library. Omar Brown led FAAM basketball and cheerleading activities in the gym and Evanston’s own Suite Mollie band provided a soundtrack.

Suite Mollie plays at The Robert Crown Center

The ice rinks were crazy busy: Evanston Township High School Girls Hockey team played a game (below). So did the Elmira Mammoth minor league professional hockey team, playing against the St. Jude Hockey Club. The ETHS Boys Varsity Hockey Team also played Libertyville High School.

Credit: Christian Surtz

There were also figure skating demonstrations – as well as a chance for everyone to get on their own skates and take to the rink.

Credit: Christian Surtz

Evanston Dance Ensemble performed Common Ground, a dance choreographed especially for the community center. 

Evanston Dance Ensemble performing Common Ground, choreographed especially for the Crown Center. Credit: Christian Surtz

The building isn’t just busy, it’s also recognized for its community architecture. In 2021, the American Public Works Association named the center the country’s best project, and this September the Chicago Chapter of American Institute of Architects added its award for top designs.

The party also provided a moment for Friends of the Robert Crown Center, the event’s host along with City of Evanston Parks Recreation and Community Services, to announce its $200,000 matching gift program, which is mean to close out the $15 million capital campaign that helped build the facility.

Susy Schultz

Susy Schultz is the editor of the Evanston Roundtable. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years, and is the former president of Public Narrative, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching journalists and...

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  1. Wow! I attended this open house and am so impressed with the facility. This facility is undoubtedly “the Crown Jewel”in Evanston.