CLC moving student restaurant, culinary program to Brae Loch Golf Club clubhouse
After months of discussion, the boards of the Lake County Forest Preserve District and the College of Lake County have approved a 20-year agreement allowing the school to use and manage the clubhouse at the Brae Loch Golf Club in Grayslake.
CLC intends to relocate the student-run Prairie Restaurant to the facility just south of the college's main campus and use it to expand and improve its culinary arts program. The deal takes effect Jan. 1 at cost of $1 per month to CLC, and it includes three, 10-year renewable options.
Brae Loch's restaurant and banquet hall have not been in full use for about 10 years. The facility has been a drain on the forest preserve district, which is examining all operations for cost savings and efficiencies.
"We'll probably save $40,000 to $50,000 a year on clubhouse maintenance and repair," Jim Ballowe, director of revenue facilities, said of the agreement.
"It's good for the golf operation at Brae Loch, which has always been challenged fiscally," he said.
According to the agreement, CLC will be responsible for the costs of any improvements, as well the maintenance, repair and replacement associated with the entire building envelope.
CLC President Lori Suddick said the license is an example of a strategic partnership and a way to share resources.
"We're creating a mutually beneficial opportunity we'll be able to build off of," she said.
"Rather than always talking about building new buildings, there are resources in the community we can leverage to reach what we call a 'speed to launch' capability," she said.
The college created a culinary program task force to assess the clubhouse because current facilities limit the ability to expand the size and scope of the program. In September, the CLC board authorized $1.5 million for the initial Brae Loch renovation to support the culinary program and student-run restaurant.
The Brae Loch plan will involve renovating the kitchen, creating classrooms and other work, with specific proposals and cost estimates to be determined. No timetable has been announced, but Suddick expected a debut sometime in 2022.
"This is an opportunity to run an enterprise that sustains itself if done well," she said.
According to the agreement, the forest preserve will retain a small space for the golf pro shop. CLC will operate the snack bar and beverage carts, with the forest preserve getting 10% of the gross revenue from liquor, beer and beverages sold.