Bears to Hold Training Camps at Lake Forest
So long to Bear-bonnais.
The Chicago Bears will no longer hold training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. This summer they'll conduct practices back home at Halas Hall in Lake Forest.
In a statement released Tuesday by the team, Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips said the team will still try to maintain a fan presence going forward for the Lake Forest summer practices.
"We will host training camp practices at Halas Hall in 2020, while maintaining a public component to many of the sessions to incorpporate our loyal and passionate fans," Phillips said in his statement. "Olivet Nazarene University continues to be a valued and committed partner, but with the recent investment in our campus expansion and state-of-the-art facilities in Lake Forest, we feel it is important to stay home for training camp."
The Bears spent $100 million to completely renovate and add onto their facilities at Halas Hall. They had a 30,600-square-foot remodeling project and now have four practice fields plus additional space.
There is a new training room, weight room, locker room and rehab area for injured players as well as a 3,250-foot players lounge.
What they don't have is a dorm for players or expansive parking for fans, although some of that parking could be found at the Conway Industrial Park surrounding Halas Hall and in other areas. The PGA Tour has held tournament stops at the Conway Farms golf course nearby and used all this excess parking available while shuttling fans to the facility.
The Bears first went to Bourbonnais in 2002 after practicing in Platteville, Wis. for 18 years.
At the time, it was reported Gov. George Ryan had an impact on the decision because he is from the Bourbonnais-Kankakee area.
Moving back from Wisconsin training camp to Illinois went hand in hand with taxpayers footing much of the bill for the $632 million reconstruction of Soldier Field.