Campus by the Sea is a camping ministry for university students and staff as well as a gorgeous retreat destination and rental facility for churches, nonprofit organizations, school programs, and other conferences. When Campus by the Sea needed to replace some of their guest accommodations, they turned to private cabins from WeatherPort®.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a setting more unique than Campus by the Sea’s: located just off of Avalon, California on gorgeous Santa Catalina Island, Campus by the Sea has a secluded cove and a quarter mile of private beach all to itself. It’s no wonder that people come from all over the country to experience this one-of-a-kind place and likely one of the best retreat destinations in California — and even the U.S.
Campus by the Sea has been operating on this same island since 1951 and can serve a maximum capacity of 300 guests.
Campus by the Sea offers a variety of different types of accommodations for their guests, and one of these accommodation types — canvas-sided tents — wasn’t serving them very well.
Santa Catalina Island experiences a windy season every year, and the canvas-sided tents weren’t strong enough to endure the winds without being damaged or worn down. As a result, Campus by the Sea staff had to disassemble and assemble the tents (and the bunk beds inside them) again every year, storing them for approximately three months through the windy season.
This process was creating a lot of unnecessary work, so they decided to find a replacement that could stay up year-round and handle the strong winds.
Private cabins from WeatherPort were the natural choice because of their durability and engineering for high wind loads. Custom-built structures from WeatherPort are engineered fabric structures designed to meet exact customer specifications and building codes for safety and long-lasting durability.
Another deciding factor for Campus by the Sea was fire protection.
Being on a remote island means that certain fire precautions are necessary. When they spoke with their fire chief, they learned that they wouldn’t have to pull permits to construct the WeatherPort structures because of their metal frame systems. The fact that WeatherPort structures were fire code-friendly would save even more work for them.
Campus by the Sea was also happy with WeatherPort’s customization options: “The flexibility of how to construct it was a benefit to us,” said Greg Jones, Campus by the Sea’s facilities manager.
When Greg first ordered a prototype of WeatherPort’s GB Series of private cabins, he customized it with two skylights to let in natural light. He later learned that guests covered them up because it was too bright, and decided to remove them from his next order.
Campus by the Sea went on to order four more private cabins from WeatherPort after testing out their prototype. They chose to go with handicap accessible structures with wider doors, which made it easier to get furniture in and out. Screened windows were also added on the end panels of the gable buildings to help keep the cabins cool, while the solid doors helped keep squirrels and foxes from sneaking in.
Finally, Campus by the Sea built a 9-foot wooden deck for each of their WeatherPort cabins, giving guests a place to relax and enjoy the beautiful views.
Campus by the Sea’s WeatherPort cabins have been up for over a year now, and guests and staff alike are pleased with them.
“We had a super rainy year last year and we’ve had 30- or 40-mile winds come through, and they’ve done great,” Greg Jones remarked. Although the exteriors of the cabins do get dirty because of the wind, they “clean very well” with light pressure washing.
The WeatherPort cabins are now one of their “more top-of-the-line housing units,” both because of the view and the cabin interior. “For accommodations that hold six people, these feel roomier and more open and, in my opinion, nicer,” said Greg. “We’ve heard nothing but positive feedback and we’re very happy with them.”
The WeatherPort cabins have made work easier for Campus by the Sea staff and given guests a quality lodging experience on Santa Catalina Island. Now Campus by the Sea is looking to order both smaller and larger WeatherPort structures!