Written by Mike Swofford Sunday, 09 January 2011 18:58
|The Scout Achievement Center Story|
|Building the Vision|
|Branding and Design|
|Technology and Green Operations|
|Excitement, Moving, and Opening|
|A Few Last Things and Grand Opening|
Looking back now, it is hard to imagine the vacant lot that was marked with nothing more than a survey stake would be morphed into the grand facility it is today. The lot had sat vacant since the demolition of a small motel several years before, and prior to any construction, it was nothing more than a weedy lot in front of the Gorman Heritage Farm. On a blisteringly hot day in July 2008, an official groundbreaking ceremony attended by Scouters, capital campaign donors, and Evendale Village Council leadership was held. Participants of the ceremony buried "Scout Promise" coins inscribed with the Scout Oath and Law in the soft earth beneath where the concrete foundation would be laid (these coins are buried underneath where the reception desk now sits).
By September, the earth had been moved, foundational plumbing and electrical lines had been installed, and the concrete slab, retaining walls, and floors had been poured. At the 2008 Peterloon in October, thousands of Scouts and Scouters were invited to leave their personal mark on the building. Three steel beams to be used in the building's framing were brought out to camp where campers could write a short message or sign their names for posterity. One beam was used in the records storage room ceiling, one was used in the district locker room ceiling, and one was used in the Scout Shop storage room ceiling. Only the beam in the Scout Shop storage room is exposed today, and with a little exploration (and permission from the Scout Shop!), the beam, complete with hundreds of signatures, can be found without much trouble. This was one of many ways that our Scouts and Scouters are literally had their hands in the construction of the building process.
Winter did not slow the progress of construction as by the time the snow fell, the main framing of the building was complete. The design of the building, so long seen only as blueprints and renderings, was finally taking shape. The next few months were a flurry of activity, most of it in done in the exposed winter air. The Hardy board siding was installed. The electrical, natural gas, and plumbing were run throughout the structure. Drywall was put in place and the structural woodwork was installed. Stonework was done on the exterior, fireplace, and Eagle Scout wall. The parking lot was poured and the retaining pond excavated. Hundreds of construction workers and contractors bustled about the site daily (in an amusing turn of events, the space that is now the Scout Executive's office was chosen by the workers as their makeshift lunchroom, complete with microwave, cable spool table, and milk crate seating). By April, the building had front doors, windows, and had taken the shape of the facility as we know it today.
It was a fascinating and busy time as everything came together at once, and the project was on track for construction to be completed by June, 2009 -- a year ahead of the original 5-year timeline established by the board!