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Linn County Conservation Board Red Cedar Lodge

Challenge

The Linn County Conservation Board wished to make upgrades to a 40-year-old lodge in Squaw Creek Park in Marion, Iowa, that is popular for weddings, graduation parties, reunions and other community events. Red Cedar Lodge, originally constructed in 1976, did not meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, had no air conditioning, and the fireplace was in the center of the room, dividing the space. Linn County Conservation wanted to make improvements that would not only increase the functionality of the space but also make it more appealing to its users.

Solution

After analyzing what was required by current codes and the improvements wanted by Linn County Conservation, the design team found that a renovation would not leave much of the old building and would cost about the same as constructing a new building. It was decided to tear down the lodge and build a new one in the same location.

ADA-equipped restrooms are located near the front, where a larger entry vestibule is able to greet visitors more easily than the previous cramped entry. In-floor heat and air conditioning were added, as well as more updated finishes throughout.

New spaces added to the lodge include a prep/catering kitchen, changing rooms for bridal parties, an outdoor back patio, and a room for table and chair storage. Wooden beams with accent lighting built into them add functionality and beauty to the main room. ADA parking stalls also were added near the building.

To maintain the lodge’s natural look, limestone was used as the building material. High clerestory windows admit natural lighting, and ground-level windows were designed to create panoramic views of the surrounding park.

Impact

While still having a capacity of 150 people, the actual usable space at the Red Cedar Lodge increased. It now meets current building codes and ADA requirements. The lodge gained a fresh new look while maintaining its natural beauty.
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