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THE WAIT IS ALMOST OVER.
It’s been over a decade since the clubhouse at Oak Meadows, was destroyed by fire in early 2009.
Since then there has been a call to get Oak Meadows a new clubhouse. And now that day is finally coming.
Last week the Dupage Country Forest Preserve District commissioners, voted unanimously to approve the building of a new clubhouse, and visitors center.
Oak Meadows has been renamed the Preserve at Oak Meadows when the golf course reopened from renovation. The board of commissioners approved the highly regarded Pepper Construction Company as the construction manager for the project. With a “guaranteed maximum price contract” of $12.6 million dollars or less.
Groundbreaking for the new facility will be at noon on September 17th. Work will then continue through September of 2020, when the clubhouse and the visitors center will open.
The 18,018 square foot one-story building has been designed by Daniel Wolhfeil. And it will include a restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating. A multi-purpose event room, outdoor viewing terrace, the golf pro shop, locker rooms, kitchen and office space.
Wohlfeil’s design plan for the building includes a reinterpretation of midcentury modern architecture, with angled flat roofs, and transition spaces to mix the inside and outside.
The large expansive windows will allow for scenic views of the golf course. The windows feature an enviromentally sound green roof, that is a bird-safe glass which will reduce the number of birds hitting the glass while in-flight. The building will include LED light system’s, that are in compliance with ComEd’s energy efficiency program.
Another upgrade to the property was the approval by the commissioners, to install a solar powered system to the Preserve’s golf cart storage barn.
The system will power the Preserve’s fleet of 75 golf carts. This landmark decision will make the Preserve at Oak Meadows, the first golf course in the country, with a fully solar-powered fleet of golf carts.
“I am thrilled by the enhancement of this project through solar power,” said Forest Preserve District of DuPage County President Daniel Hebreard. “The new building will be a terriffic venue for events ranging from golf outings to Forest Preserve District education programs. The solar arrays support our organizations mission for all who visit The Preserve.”
The DuPage County Forest Preserve District acquired the former Elmhurst Country Club in 1985, and used the orginal 50,000 square foot clubhouse until the 2009 fire destroyed the building. So there was an immediate call to replace the structure.
But in a plan presented to the commissioners by current Forest Preserve District Executive Director Ed Stevenson, who previously served as the Director of Golf Operations, Stevenson suggested addressing the golf course’s severe flooding problems first. Stevenson’s plan included improving enviromental conditions, and upgrading an aging infrastructure across the Preserve before replacing the clubhouse.
The Forest Preserve District elected to adopt the plan. And selected architect Greg Martin, to oversee the course renovation and restoration program.
Work started in 2015, and the course had some preview play in 2017, before a full reopening of play in 2018.
The number of golf holes was reduced from 27 to 18, and now only 15% of the 288 acres at the preserve, is used for golf. The renovation created storage area’s to hold 20 million gallons of storm water, to reduce flooding to the golf course and the surrounding communities.
The Forest Preserve District created 25 acres of wetlands, 43 acres of riparian habitat. And restored 13 acres along the Salt Creek Corridor, to improve water quality and plant and animal diversity.
Since reopening in 2017, the Preserve At Oak Meadows has received awards from numerous golf publications and enviromentalists. Including “Renovation of the Year” from Golf Magazine.
Golfweek Magazine has named the Preserve at Oak Meadows, the 6th Best Public Course in Illinois. And rated it the No.1 public course in DuPage County.
Golf Digest gave the Preserve it’s Green Star enviromental award, for enviromental development through golf.
Architect Greg Martin received a Design Excellence Award, from the American Society of Golf Course Architects. The American Society of Landscape Architects presented the Preseve with a Merit Award.
“The former clubhousewas a favorite gathering place for nearly a century,” said Forest Preserve District Commissioner Marsha Murphy, District 1. “Since the fire in 2009, the community has been anticipating a place to serve the public and create memories for the next 100 years.”
According to the Forest Preserve District. The Preserve at Oak Meadows and the district’s golf operation, have demonstrated the ability to support operating expenses with golf revenues. But when the new clubhouse is completed, it will help generate additional revenue and financial sustainability, without subsidy from the tax levy. Besides, future golf profits will help support other Forest Preserve District programs.
So for more information on the DuPage County Forest Preserve District, call (630)-933-7200 or visit dupageforest.org, for golf news see Dupagegolf.com.