Blackwell: Fleet Management Building Project

In May 2007, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County Board of Commissioners approved funding for a new 16-bay fleet building on Mack Road at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville. The site is located near several existing Forest Preserve District maintenance, operational and fleet-management facilities and will provide almost 29,000 square feet for the maintenance and repair of Forest Preserve District vehicles and equipment. Landscaping plans include a wide variety of trees and shrubs to screen the building from view and blend with the natural surroundings.

Rationale for New Fleet Management Building
  • Current fleet management facilities at Blackwell and Churchill Woods forest preserves are old, undersized and outdated.
  • Expansion of the Churchill Woods facility is limited by adjacent ecosystems.
  • Renovating existing structures would be more costly.
  • The District has quadrupled its fleet over the past 30 years to better manage, improve, and maintain over 25,000 acres — 12 percent of county’s land mass — for the citizens of DuPage County, land that includes over 60 forest preserves, 145 miles of trails, 45 miles of rivers and streams, 30 lakes, five education centers, six youth-group camping areas, six off-leash dog areas, 25 reservable picnic areas, two boat-rental areas, one family campground, one archery range, and many other recreational, educational, and conservational facilities.
  • The larger fleet requires additional service bays sized appropriately for year-round indoor maintenance of vehicles and equipment.
  • The newly consolidated Fleet Management Department provides a centralized area of operations to manage the District’s operations more efficiently.


Neither bond proceeds nor property tax dollars will be used to fund the construction of the proposed Fleet Management building. Rather, $5,200,750 of the cost will be funded by O’Hare mitigation fees, and $2,510,198 will be funded by investment earnings on landfill environmental funds.

Proposed Fleet Management Building
  • 28,500-square-foot, single-story — based on size of fleet and staff; building-code requirements; special work areas, such as welding and fabrication shop; and consideration for current industry trends and standards including alternative fuel vehicles.
  • Metal-panel-clad structure with split-face block-base walls and landscape-appropriate colors designed to mimic and maintain the rural character of the site.
  • Ranges 22 to 32 feet tall from east to west, established from the clear height of tallest vehicles along with lift height for maintenance
  • 16 bays — 14 service bays, one welding and fabrication shop, and one enclosed paint booth with exhaust and ventilation system independent of other building systems
  • Storage for parts and equipment, Districtwide custodial supplies and offices.
  • Space for 9 technicians and five administrative personnel.
  • Landscaping plan to reduce visibility of building and existing fueling facility to forest preserve visitors, neighboring residences and passersby on the road.
  • Fence and gating system consistent with similar access control used throughout the District
  • Exterior lighting utilizing high-efficiency LEDs with full cut-off shields directed downward to minimize potential spillover to marsh and residential areas.
  • Two separate sanitary and wastewater systems with kitchen and washroom waste directed to on-site septic field and service and mechanical waste directed to holding tank to be pumped and hauled away on a regular basis to an appropriate disposal facility
  • Building, stormwater-management, and fire-protection systems coordinated and reviewed through DuPage County pursuant to the terms of the Intergovernmental Agreement between the District and the County of DuPage dated May 19, 1998, “An Intergovernmental Agreement Regarding Certain Consulting Services Concerning Permits Affecting Forest Preserve District of DuPage County Lands” (Forest Preserve District Ordinance #98-201), paragraphs 3.1, 3.3 and 3.5 of which provide:
    3.1 The District shall comply with the County’s Building Codes.
    3.3 The District shall comply with the County’s Stormwater Ordinance.
    3.5 The District is exempt from and shall not have to comply with any aspects of the County’s Zoning Ordinance.
  • The West Chicago Fire Protection District will be the designated reviewer for fire protection systems per the IGA mentioned above in compliance with any aspects of the county's zoning ordinance. 
Rationale for Proposed Site
  • The proposed site is adjacent to the existing Fleet Management facility, which has been on Mack Road since 1978.
  • The existing facility houses 100 percent of the District’s heavy-duty vehicles, 80 percent of its equipment and over 50 percent of its fleet.
  • The current facility has wash bays, storage and fuel pumps. (Underground unleaded and diesel tanks have been there since 1988. Before 1988, the District had an above-ground system at the site.)
  • The proposed site has been the primary, developed complex for Grounds Management and Natural Resources for over 30 years.
  • The proposed site is located 350 yards from Facilities Management and Rangers — West Operations facilities.
  • Combined, the existing buildings on Mack Road are daily points of departure for 93 permanent and 47 seasonal full-time field employees, who use a large percentage of the fleet, especially the oversized specialty vehicles.

Grounds Management 

  • 42 full-time field staff
  • two full-time office staff
  • 14 full-time seasonal field staff

Natural Resources 

  • 10 full-time field staff
  • one full-time office staff
  • six full-time seasonal field staff

Fleet Management 

  • 3 full-time staff

Facilities Management 

  • 24 full-time field staff
  • 1 full-time office staff
  • 2 part-time office staff
  • 5 full-time seasonal field staff 

 Rangers — West Operations 

  • 14 full-time field staff
  • 1 full-time office staff
  • 24 full-time seasonal field staff
  • 5 intermittent field staff


  • The McKee Marsh natural area (circ. 1977) was established at the same time as the current Fleet Services facility (circ. 1978), which allowed resident fauna to adapt to operations. The proposed Blackwell Fleet Management building is not expected to significantly affect this environment.
  • The Forest Preserve District is authorized to construct the building under the authority granted the Board of Commissioners by the Downstate Forest Preserve District Act, 70 ILCS 805.0.001 et seq. (West 2010).
Current Fleet Management Statistics
  • Fleet Management facilities at Blackwell and Churchill Woods forest preserves maintain over 173 vehicles, 77 flatbed trailers and 1,319 other types of equipment.
  • Vehicles range from patrol cars and SUVs to maintenance vehicles, such as dump trucks and paving trucks, to hauling vehicles, such as semitrailer tractors and full-bed trailers.
  • Other equipment includes backhoes, crawlers, mowers, skid steers, tractors, and other maintenance-related equipment, such as chain saws, line trimmers, and blowers.
Current Operations at Mack Road Facilities
  • Fleet Management provides and maintains equipment for all Forest Preserve District offices, including departments permanently based on Mack Road: Grounds Management, Natural Resources, Facilities Management and Rangers — West Operations.
  • These departments in particular support, manage, improve, and maintain the District’s 25,000 acres.
  • These daily operations ultimately support the District’s efforts to advance its mission of conservation, education and recreation for the pleasure of 4.3 million annual visitors.


After being placed on hold for several years to investigate sources for municipal water and review alternative considerations for the building aesthetic, the Board of Commissioners approved a second amendment to a professional-services contract with Knight Engineers & Architects on Jan. 5, 2016 to finish the project. The scope of their work includes taking plans from 50% completion through final design, engineering, preparation of construction documents, permit submittals, and providing bid assistance. Currently, Knight Engineers & Architects is revising building elevations and layout plans consistent with presentations made to the public in October 2015 along with addressing concerns from local residents per a letter of understanding between the city of Warrenville and the District. On Jan. 18, 2016, the Forest Preserve District and city of Warrenville executed two intergovernmental agreements in regards to construction of a water main extension to Blackwell Forest Preserve and various trail projects within Blackwell and Warrenville Grove forest preserves. It is anticipated that the project will be designed and permitted in 2016 with construction anticipated to start in spring 2017. Final site restoration is expected to be completed by fall 2017.

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©2016 Forest Preserve District of DuPage County