Camelot bunkhouse

Coming 2023

$320,925

RAISED BY 170 PEOPLE

Goal: $500,000

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What is the long-term vision for the Camelot property?

The long-term vision is for Camelot to host groups of up to 50 people using two structures on the property: a sleeping cabin (the new bunkhouse), and a kitchen/lounge building (the existing cabin, or its future replacement). This gives us more flexibility to accommodate different groups on the property, and ensures that Camelot will remain available even while one of the two structures is closed for repair or replacement.

Why does MITOC need the bunkhouse?

Building a new structure at Camelot is the best way to ensure that the MITOC cabin experience will remain available to future generations of MIT students. In accordance with modern safety standards, the loft area of the existing Camelot cabin is closed, so we will rely on the new bunkhouse to provide safe and comfortable sleeping space for Outing Club members.

How does the bunkhouse support MITOC’s mission?

The core of MITOC’s mission is to make outdoor recreation accessible to all, with a special focus on new students who do not have previous outdoors experience. For this reason, it is important to have a place where MITOC members can sleep in all seasons which is inexpensive and does not require experience nor special equipment.

Why doesn’t the bunkhouse include a kitchen or lounge area?

We would prefer to have our sleeping space and living space in separate structures, which will improve the cabin experience for large groups with varied schedules. We believe that the existing cabin will continue to provide a serviceable kitchen and lounge for another 10-20 years, and having the bunkhouse in operation will ease the impact of its future replacement.

Can the existing cabin be brought up to code?

The Camelot managers and the town of Groton do not see a viable path for the loft space to be reopened. With minor modifications, the cabin will remain suitable for use as a cooking and gathering space, but there is no realistic path to making it fit to sleep a large group of students.

How much will the new bunkhouse cost?

We estimate that the new bunkhouse will cost $500,000. This figure is based on similar bunkhouses which were built by the Dartmouth Outing Club during the last decade, and includes all costs for design, permitting, construction, and construction administration. The COVID-19 pandemic has added significant uncertainty to the cost of labor and materials, but we have decided to move forward with $500,000 as our fundraising target.

Why not buy a house instead?

The safety requirements for a structure that can legally sleep 50 people are quite different from the safety requirements for a single-family residence. The cost of the necessary modifications to a typical house would be a large fraction of the cost of building a new bunkhouse. We also want to preserve the special outdoor space and rustic atmosphere of the MITOC cabins.

Why not buy new land for a bunkhouse somewhere else?

The current Camelot property meets the needs of the club. Although it is about 45 minutes away from Franconia Notch, we do not have difficulty running hiking trips out of Camelot. We do not wish to give up on the existing improvements to Camelot nor our working relationship with the local authorities.

How will the bunkhouse be funded?

Construction of the bunkhouse will be fully funded by donations. Once completed, ongoing maintenance of the bunkhouse will be funded by modest user fees of about $15 per person per night in accordance with MITOC’s current practices.

Is my donation to the Camelot Bunkhouse tax deductible?

Yes, if you donate to contribute to the MIT Outing Club Camelot Cabin Fund, you will receive a statement from MIT at the end of the year documenting your tax deductible charitable contribution.

Can I donate to the bunkhouse project by check?

Yes, It is possible to donate by check!
You should make the check payable to MIT Fund 3892696 and include this contribution form. The address for gifts by check is:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
P. O. Box 412926
Boston, MA 02241-2926

How long will the bunkhouse last?

We expect the bunkhouse to last 100 years, allowing it to serve MITOC members for many generations to come. The design has been optimized for robustness in many different aspects: exterior rigid insulation (to maintain structural members at a controlled temperature and humidity), generous roof overhangs, and durable cladding materials, to name a few.

When do we plan to start construction?

If fundraising goes well, we will begin construction in March 2023. We are uncertain about how long it will take to meet our fundraising targets, so our fallback plan is to begin construction in March 2024.

How long will construction take?

Construction will take about six months until the structure is ready for occupancy. We will start building in the spring when the ground dries out, and the bunkhouse will be ready for occupancy by the time the winter snows arrive.

Will the bunkhouse be heated?

The bunkhouse will be tightly insulated with modern building materials, and our calculations indicate that heating will not be required to maintain a comfortable temperature overnight. That said, the bunkhouse will be equipped with electric heat to assist with the initial heat-up when the first occupants arrive on the coldest nights.

What construction method will be used for the bunkhouse?

The bunkhouse will be an above-grade wooden structure with exterior rigid insulation and back-ventilated cladding, supported by concrete piers and with a small concrete basement to house the fire sprinkler tank and toilet composters below the frost line.

What about parking?

At the request of the town of Groton, we will be enlarging our existing parking area and adding a small buffer to separate it from North Groton Road. While this adds some cost to the project, the parking situation was a major area of negotiation with the town and will ultimately result in a better experience for Camelot users.

Will there be vehicle access to the bunkhouse?

There will be a rough trail which will be accessible by all-terrain vehicles for construction and safety purposes. (The local fire department has an all-terrain firefighting vehicle). Regular property users will continue to park their vehicles near the road and hike in about 200 meters to reach the complex.

Will students be involved in construction? Alums?

The new bunkhouse will be built by a professional general contractor, and their legal requirements for the worksite will require MITOC member participation to be structured and premeditated. Nevertheless, where possible, we plan to involve MITOC members in the construction process.

Who designed the new bunkhouse?

MITOC hired Maclay Architects to execute the design for the new bunkhouse. Maclay Architects previously worked with the Dartmouth Outing Club on several of their bunkhouses. Maclay Architects had an extremely close collaboration with the Camelot managers and MITOC board, and we feel that the proposed design exactly represents the interests of the MITOC community.

Who is managing this project?

David Lawrence ‘14, a former MITOC president and Camelot manager, is the director of the Camelot bunkhouse project. Neil Titchener is the fundraising chair. We have active participation from the MIT Department of Facilities, the MIT Division of Student Life, and many other MITOC board members.

Who should I contact with a different question?

Please email mitoc-bunkhouse@mit.edu.