Bolingbrook Park District commissioned Wight to design and construct a new nature center. The Hidden Oaks Nature Center is situated on 17 acres near the intersection of Boughton and Schmidt Roads, adjacent to Hidden Lakes Historic Trout Farm and the east branch of the DuPage River.

The site selected for the Nature Center is heavily wooded, which influenced the overall theme of the Center. Designed to rest between two large oaks, with decks encircling the trees to give visitors the feeling of walking into a treehouse, the facility focuses on teaching about the local flora and fauna.

An Integrated Story

An integrated quality assurance process was in place throughout design and construction. During the design, the pre-construction manager and the project manager participated in all of the meetings and had a say on all key decisions. This helped the construction group fully understand the purpose and function of the design, the owner’s objectives and desires, and the sustainability aspects of the project.

This collaboration created synergies that enabled the team to make key cost and schedule decisions without compromising the owner’s functional, aesthetic, and future expansion criteria.

Civic Hidden Oaks 8
Civic Hidden Oaks 2

The building is not only beautiful but serves as a model of sustainability for the area – the ecological integrity of the site was not compromised in order to construct the 7,000 sf Nature Center in the woods.


2012 Frank Lloyd Wright Honor Award, AIA Illinois

2010 National Design-Build Awards, Design-Build $10M & Under, Design-Build Institute of America

2010 Impact on Learning Award - High Performance Schools, School Planning & Management

2010 Merit Award, New Construction Under $10M, Chicago Building Congress

2010 Honor Award, American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois

2009 Merit Award, Green Building, Midwest Construction

LEED Platinum Certification

Project Personnel