Naperville's Knoch Knolls Nature Center to reopen Monday after flooding

  • Knoch Knolls Nature Center in Naperville is set to reopen Monday after repairs to fix damage caused by a sanitary sewer backup March 30 that flooded the 5,000-square-foot facility. The free-admission center will reopen for summer hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

    Knoch Knolls Nature Center in Naperville is set to reopen Monday after repairs to fix damage caused by a sanitary sewer backup March 30 that flooded the 5,000-square-foot facility. The free-admission center will reopen for summer hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Daily Herald file photo October 2014

 
 
Updated 5/31/2017 12:13 PM

Knoch Knolls Nature Center in Naperville is set to reopen Monday after weeks of repairs to fix flood damage.

The facility at 320 Knoch Knolls Road took on two inches of water on March 30 because of a sanitary sewer backup.

 

It has been closed ever since as Naperville Park District has worked with its insurance company to cover repairs and with the city to fund sewer system improvements aimed at preventing future backups.

"It was aggressive," Ray McGury, park district executive director, said about the nine-week restoration schedule. "To get this done based on the amount of damage that was done, and to restore that to its original state, was no easy task."

The district hired back Wight Construction, which built the $6 million facility in 2014, to conduct repairs. McGury said the company's familiarity with the building and its materials helped quickly replace flooring and wall coverings to get the center back to its original appearance.

Final costs of the fixes have not yet been determined, but McGury said the park district expects to release the amount spent on repairs in the coming weeks.

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Now the 5,000-square-foot nature center is on the verge of opening for its summer hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The reopening means visitors once again will be able to view the center's exhibit about the importance of water in the ecosystem, complete with a 900-gallon fish tank and activities for children. DuPage River Trail users will be able to stop in to use the water fountain and restrooms.

Admission to the center is free, and 50,000 people have visited since it opened in October 2014.

The reopening comes in time for summer camps, which also begin Monday. Camps are offered weekly for kids ages 3 to 12 with themes including creek wildlife, bird-watching, camping skills, art and gardening. Registration is available at napervilleparks.org.

Other activities at the nature center, and around its 224-acre grounds in Knoch Knolls park, include a parent-child campout June 10 and 11 and a sold-out family campout June 17 and 18.

The park district built the nature center as part of an improvement project at Knoch Knolls, which also included expansion of the disc golf course from nine holes to 18, installation of a nature-themed playground and upgrades to canoe launches along the river.

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