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Timberline Knolls, Lemont, Illinois

November 1, 2006
by root
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The residential treatment center Timberline Knolls, located southwest of downtown Chicago, is on a 43-acre site that was once a limestone quarry. Exclusively for young women ages 12 and older, Timberline Knolls offers treatment for emotional problems, often using dual-diagnosis treatment plans, that can include self-injurious behavior, substance abuse, and eating and other disorders.

The campus offers an enclave of restored, historically significant buildings from the 19th century, along with contextually sensitive modern buildings and living quarters. Four single-story lodges each sleep 26 girls and have a two-story atrium, natural limestone interior, and working fireplaces.

Other buildings on campus include the administrative building, built into the side of a knoll and surrounded by wood decks; the residents’ art building, housing a kiln and throwing wheels and built with skylights to offer an open and airy feel; and Timberline Knolls Academy, where school-age girls continue their education during treatment. Also on-site are volleyball, soccer, and gardening areas for residents.

Timberline Knolls takes advantage of the dramatic forested landscape and limestone bluffs (highlighted with floodlights). Gazebos, bridges, trails, benches, patios, bubbling water, and quiet places are used to aid in the healing process.

Access for people with physical disabilities was a major design consideration because of the site's natural makeup. Handrails are constructed of pressure-treated wood, and limestone garden walls soften grade changes and provide a structural base for ramps.