Beset by delays, new Rolling Meadows mosque construction

First rejected by Rolling Meadows aldermen, then approved two years later, and then delayed by the pandemic and red tape, construction of the Islamic Society of Northwest Suburbs’ new mosque is finally set to begin.

The society received full approvals for its building and site plans just over a week ago, and its newly-selected general contractor is now applying for a city construction permit in hopes of starting work at 1200 Hicks Road by mid-August.

That’s about four years after mosque leaders received the necessary city zoning approvals they had long lobbied for.

They encountered delays not only because of the pandemic, but also securing final approval of site plans from at least three governmental agencies.

Mohammed Abdul-Gaffoor, secretary of the society’s board of directors and point man on the mosque project, said they went through several iterations of plans and rounds of reviews with the Illinois Department of Transportation, which has jurisdiction over Hicks Road, and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, which approved a proposed detention pond, weir and other stormwater upgrades for the site. Those plan reviews were in addition to the ones provided by the city’s planners, engineers and other consultants.

“That took a while,” Abdul-Gaffoor said. “Good news, it is all behind us and we look forward to start the construction in August.”

The society is converting the vacant one-story, 47,534-square-foot brick industrial building on an eight-acre site it purchased in 2016 into its new prayer hall. It has plans for a Sunday school, gymnasium, library and multipurpose room/banquet hall in subsequent phases and as funding allows.



But the initial renovation will go a long way to providing more space for the growing membership of nearly 500 worshippers, who now attend weekly Friday afternoon services around the corner at 3950 Industrial Ave.

The current facility — about 15,000 square feet on a one-acre site — has become cramped, Abdul-Gaffoor said. The society opened its first mosque in a 5,000-square-foot building down the block in 1986.

Renovation of the Hicks building will include mostly interior upgrades and some exterior changes to make it look like a house of worship, he said. A few detached structures, like old garages and small pump house structures, will be torn down.

“This project will transform an old building into an iconic new landmark in the city of Rolling Meadows and for the entire Northwest suburbs,” Abdul-Gaffoor said.



Officials declined to provide exact cost figures for project, but the initial phase and site plan was listed as $5.1 million — of which about half had been secured in donations, according to a project status update on the society’s website from April.

Abdul-Gaffoor said the project is being funded entirely by donations from the community’s members.

“We have donations fulfilled and pledges yet to be fulfilled and some more is needed, and our community members will step up once the project construction starts,” he said.

Initial renovations are expected to be complete in time for Ramadan next March.