Camp Foster YMCA , located in Spirit Lake, IA, recently held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of construction on a multi-phase project to improve their facilities. To help them bring their vision for this project to life Camp Foster turned to ATURA architecture. ATURA worked closely with Camp Foster on the design, phasing, and marketing of the project.

The first phase of the project consists of a new airnasium facility (open-air gymnasium) and an expansion of the current Dining Hall. The airnasium will bring a unique and flexible space to camp programming. Not only will it be towards the entrance of the camp allowing for a unique visual and check-in experience, but also offer an array of benefits to the outdoor programming. Having a semi-enclosed structure such as the airnasium will allow for intermittent shelter from sun and rain. Campers will be able to play outside and experience the natural surroundings while enjoying some protection from the elements. The multi-purpose rooms will be utilized during camper check-ins as well as storage and break-out spaces for programs.

The new dining hall site compliments the walk-out basement, which provides program space easily accessible from the lake and boat house while doubling as a storm shelter. The new dining hall site complements the need for a basement storm shelter. The storm shelter provides additional program space at ground level for ease of access from the lake and boat house. Additionally, the progression up the hill allows for different vantage points of the lake. The deck and potential sun-shaded area will allow for a semi-sheltered outdoor program space while the dining hall will have a suspended view looking out over the trees and lake.

Later phases of the project will include a new visitors center located at the camp’s entrance, converting the existing welcome center and administration office into a health center, and construction of a new two-unit camper cabin. Construction on the facility improvement project is scheduled to be completed by April 2023.

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