Camelot bunkhouse

Construction starts summer 2024



Goal: $500,000


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 existing cabin to serve as sleeping space for anywhere near 50 people. With ongoing repairs and improvements, the existing cabin will remain suitable for use as a cooking and gathering space, but there is no realistic path to making it safely 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 for the structure. The COVID-19 pandemic and general economic conditions have added significant uncertainty to the cost of labor and materials, but we have decided to move forward with $500,000 as our fundraising target.

What expenses are not included in the $500,000 estimated cost?

The estimated bunkhouse cost does not include the following:

  • Phase 1 design work with Maclay Architects, which was funded and completed prior to the official launch of the project and fundraising campaign.
  • Construction of a new parking lot, which was requested by the town of Groton as a condition for granting our zoning exemption for the property.
  • Construction of an improved trail to the bunkhouse site, to permit access by an ATV or mini excavator. We anticipate that much of this work can be done by MITOC volunteers.

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 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 an hour away from the higher peaks of the White Mountains, this distance does not pose difficulty for 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. And, we like the neighborhood, including the Rumney cliffs, Sculptured Rocks, and the wonderful new Green Woodlands preserve.

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 $20 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! Please make your check payable to MIT Fund 3892696, enclose the MIT contribution form, and mail your check to:

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

When will construction start?

We signed the contract for site preparation, including construction of the new parking lot and access trail, in December 2023. This construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2024 as soon as ground and weather conditions permit. Funding permitting, the bunkhouse structure itself will be erected starting in fall 2024.

How long will construction take?

Construction of the bunkhouse will take about six months, but needs to be paused for winter weather. In the best case, the bunkhouse might be finished in 2024, but we are currently planning for a delayed start (due to fundraising needs) with completion in mid-2025.

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 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 enlarge our existing parking area and add a small buffer to separate it from North Groton Road. While this adds cost to the project, it will improve our relationship with our neighbors and will ultimately result in a better experience for Camelot visitors.

Will there be vehicle access to the bunkhouse?

There will be a rough trail 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 North Groton Road and hike in about 200 meters to reach the Camelot buildings.

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.

How long will the bunkhouse last?

We expect the bunkhouse to last about 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.

Who is managing this project?

David Lawrence ‘14, a former MITOC president and Camelot manager, is the director of the Camelot bunkhouse project. The fundraising committee also includes graduate student Karina Smolyar and MITOC’s alumni liaison Greg Wallace. 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