Margaret A. Cargill Lodge

The new Margaret A. Cargill (MAC) Lodge can house up to 187 people. Each dorm room sleeps 4-8 students, with a bathroom and shower in the room. Many rooms can be converted into 2 separate sleeping spaces for more privacy. Handicapped-accessible rooms are available on both the first and second floors. On the back side of the dorm, an accessible deck overlooks birds feeding amongst mature maples and spruces, with Sawmill Creek Valley through the trees.


The new lodge has five group gathering spaces, or “commons.” The largest, Weesner Commons, can accommodate all of the building residents in one large, day-lit space. It features a cozy pellet-stove fireplace and large wrap-around windows overlooking the forest. The ground floor’s east and west wings each have a central common space surrounded by individual dorm rooms. On the second floor there are two smaller commons areas with unique amenities. Plautz Commons has a pellet stove fireplace and displays original artworks by Michael Plautz, a Wolf Ridge benefactor, artist, and architect of both the Science Center and Forest Ecology Classroom Buildings. Mystical Mountain Commons features is a small balcony overlooking the cliffs above Wolf Lake and beyond to Lake Superior. Each of the five commons is furnished with comfortable seating areas, table space, and a small kitchenette with microwave, cupboard storage space, and a refrigerator.


One aspect of MAC Lodge that we are very excited about is the building’s ability to be used as a teaching tool for sustainability. Designed to meet Living Building Challenge standards, which is the most rigorous in the world, the building is striving to function at net zero water and energy for a full year to achieve “Full LBC Certification”. It’s something only 17 buildings in the world have accomplished thus far, and something we hope to accomplish this with the help of the people who live come here and stay. Students, teachers, families, and conference attendees will be able to reference a display in their room that tracks water and electricity use in real time, then adjust their choices and see the effect. The dorm’s main lobby will also have a larger version of the display for use during Energy in My Home and other classes.


The new dorm’s name, “Margaret A. Cargill Lodge,” honors one of the building’s main benefactors, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation. Many others have contributed to Making Waves capital campaign, and we are still in need of funds to close the project out.


Learn about Living Building Challenge and some of the inspiring stories MAC Lodge’s construction has generated.