Camp Gray Project of Distinction 



Camp Gray “The Ark” Gymnasium

Camp Gray is a Catholic camp and year-round retreat center. The ACA-accredited camp invites people of all ages to experience a fun and vibrant religious community and to deepen their faith in the midst of a beautiful south central Wisconsin forested setting. Camp Gray continues to grow with a new gymnasium that will provide year round recreation to its guests.  Set within 224 acres of wooded hills, the Ark Gymnasium features materials and color palette that complement the wooded nature that surrounds it.  The trees that needed to be removed from the property to make room for the gymnasium were repurposed and used for much of the pine trim and wainscoting in the building.

The gymnasium was built around “The Ark” concept as it is large, built mostly with wood, and features exposed rafters and beautiful pine trim and wainscoting.  It was a challenging design, as despite the size it still needed to blend with the surrounding nature.  The new gymnasium includes a full size basketball court which can also be used as two volleyball courts. It includes floor heat and restrooms, something the original building was missing.  It also includes an arts and crafts room that can be used year round by the thousands of campers that visit Camp Gray each year.

New to Holtz Builders’ building experiences was the installation of tectum panels.  Having never installed them before, Holtz Builders subcontracted out this scope of work to Distribution Resources.  Unfortunately, due to Distribution Resources’ busy schedule, there were many scheduling conflicts threatening to put the project behind schedule.  The Holtz Builder’s team felt it was in the best interest of the owner to assist with the installation of the tectum panels.  The team learned a new skill that can be used on future projects, while keeping the Camp Gray project on schedule for the owners.  Close collaboration between Holtz Builders and Distribution Resources also prevented this from costing Camp Gray any additional money, keeping the project within the budget.

Interior Gym Project

Camp Gray enjoyed the climbing wall in the gymnasium so much that they decided to extend it at the tail end of the project. Through open communication and collaboration with the owners, Holtz Builders was able to minimize the impact this had on the Camp, despite extending the schedule for the completion of the climbing wall.  The superintendent of the project was on site sparingly-only as needed-while the climbing wall was completed, to prevent additional management costs to the owner.  The remainder of the gym, including the arts and crafts room, was opened on time for camp visitors to use.

Nestled in the forest, Camp Gray places an importance on environmental stewardship, even discussing it at retreats.  Preserving the natural environment was an essential part of the project.  Holtz Builders set up temporary fencing much tighter to the build site than what is typical and no subcontractors or construction were allowed beyond that fence.  Holtz Builders also kept an exceptionally clean jobsite to prevent damage to the surrounding environment.  Pine trees that needed to be removed from the site were also used for much of the trim and wainscoting in the gymnasium.  The pine needed to be kiln dried before being used in construction requiring some additional planning for the construction schedule.

In addition to being conscious of the natural environment, Holtz Builders also had to remain conscious of the many guests visiting Camp Gray.  Camp Gray remained open throughout construction, with its many visitors able to use the other facilities on the premises.  Most of Camp Gray’s guests are students under the age of 18. Working in a location with many children nearby necessitated exemplary professionalism and increased safety awareness.  Additional fencing was placed to separate the job site and its access roads from the rest of the camp.

Construction for Camp Gray overlapped much of the winter.  Pre-engineered glulam columns and trusses needed to be wrapped and protected from the elements.  Snow removal needed to be completed before the construction days began.   Cold temperatures sometimes required schedule changes to keep employees safe. 

Between the additional environmental challenges and scheduling issues, the Camp Gray gymnasium provided more challenges than one would typically expect from a gymnasium.  Holtz Builders greatly enjoyed working on another project for Camp Gray and looks forward to partnering with Camp Gray for any future projects they may undertake.

Unique Features

An electric fireplace in each unit, next to the whirlpool, enhanced the ambiance. Due to the harsh chemicals and moisture of the pool, a stainless steel shroud surrounded the fireplace. Rather than having it be masonry brickwork that will be costly to replace when the chlorine corrodes the metal, a unique design feature included using a stainless steel surround for easy replacement in the future. 

Another unique feature was a 700 square foot yoga deck, with horizontal cable rails, located between the new addition and the existing building. Using an exotic ipe deck board, this Brazilian walnut is twice as dense as most woods and up to five times harder making it naturally resistant to rot, abrasion, weather, and insects. Despite the wood being held up in port, we were able to get it in time to have it installed and this beautiful, exotic, and durable hardwood deck offered another space to unwind through wellness classes.

Sundara Inn & Resort is recognized as one of the first spas in the Midwest and has received a multitude of awards. This stunning expansion will provide a sanctuary-like retreat to the many guests that will visit in the years to come. The Holtz Builders construction team was very honored to be involved in the expansion of this world class destination.