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Loyola retreats to the woods

Courtesy Loyola University

WOODSTOCK, Ill. — Loyola University has turned a former religious retreat center 90 minutes northwest of downtown Chicago into a retreat and ecology campus.

The 86-acre property is also available for meetings and conferences, with 10,400 square feet of meeting space and housing in 50 single or double-occupancy rooms with private baths, and 21 sleeping rooms with bunk beds.

A limited number of handicapped-accessible rooms are available. All rooms have views of the wooded campus, and Internet connections are complimentary.

Meeting space includes a 200-seat main hall, two 60-person seminar rooms and 10 breakout rooms. As many as 200 persons can meet at the center and make use of its wooded walking trails, spring-fed lake and three ponds.

A full-service food and beverage staff can prepare snacks and meals that focus on local produce and sustainable food practice and are served in a 225-seat dining room that offers views of the surrounding woodlands.

The campus also has facilities for tennis, volleyball, basketball, cross-country skiing, sledding and hiking; a number of golf courses are nearby.

The school’s biology and urban environmental research programs use the center for many courses and are working with the McHenry County Conservation District to restore the natural habitat.