The Forest Preserves of Cook County, IL selected Domokur Architects to implement a new $29 million Camp Program in their 69,000 acre district. This initiative developed and improved opportunities for camping at five locations in the greater Chicago area, which is the second-most populated county in the country. The scope of work included renovation and construction of boat houses, bunkhouses, and the landmark Camp Sullivan Barn. The project also included landscape improvements such as hiking trails, RV and tent sites, as well as utilities and infrastructure to serve the camps. These new and refurbished sites opened for public use starting in the summer of 2015.
In preparing for the design phase, the team met on-site to engage the Owners and stakeholders as part of the planning process, which included charrettes at all five camp locations to determine programmatic needs. Our work included the evaluation of utility services and constructability as well as the completion of environmental studies and wetland delineations to determine site opportunities and constraints at each location. This collaboration led to enhancements of the District's existing Master Plan.
Camp Shabbona was the first of the 6 sites to open. Campers can choose between cabins or mulch tent pads and take a hike down one of the nature trails. Camp Reinberg is able to host campers of all skill sets and comfort levels. There are two-bedroom cabins that sleep up to 10 people and have air conditioning and private bathrooms with showers. Smaller cabins that sleep up to 8 people with access to modern toilet and shower facilities are also available. The site also offers RV sites as well as tent pads. Campers are able to use the community kitchens found within the large, newly renovated dining hall. Camp Dan Beard, a Boy Scout camp for over 50 years, involved the construction of 6 new cabins, a modern toilet and shower facility and renovation of a large, historic, existing cabin to create an indoor gathering space. Camp Bullfrog opened in August 2015 and is open to campers year round. Aside from the scenic lake views, and over 50 miles of hiking trails, Camp Bullfrog now has new 1 and 2 bedroom cabins, RV sites, tent sites, restrooms, shower facilities, a common field area and picnic pavilions. Campers can enjoy canoeing, hiking, mountain biking, and more. Campers there also have access to the nearby Maple Lake Boathouse which provides boat rentals, a bait shop, and concessions. Camp Sullivan campers have the choice between group bunkhouses, smaller rustic cabins, or primitive tent camp sites, with access to the picnic program shelter. The renovated historic Sullivan Barn serves as an activity hub that features a climbing wall, indoor and outdoor gathering spaces, and the campground’s main office.