Camp Naish prepares for renovation
The Boy Scouts of America plan to enhance the "responsible fun and adventure" offered at Camp Naish, with new construction planned for the fall.
The camp facility, owned and operated by the Boy Scouts of America Heart of America Council, includes 82 buildings that sit on 850 acres just north of Kansas Highway 32 and east of Kansas Highway 7.
"We're one of the most used camps in the United States," reservation ranger Rick Ledgerwood said.
More than 56,000 Scouts and adults visit the camp each year, reservation director Jonathan Bonness said. The majority are at the camp from June 1 to Aug. 15.
Construction is planned to start in the fall, when the camp has low attendance.
"But there are always hitches," Bonness said. "Our main concern is that we have a very short window. We have to be up and running by May 20 at the latest. We have to find a contractor that can work on the timetable we've got."
Another factor is funding. The Heart of America Council has many projects in the works, Bonness said, and although construction at Camp Naish is planned, there is not enough funding yet for the entire Camp Naish project.
"The council is in the middle of a $15 million campaign," Bonness said.
That campaign includes $6.5 million that has been pledged toward renovations and construction at Camp Naish.
"That would be enough to cover the first and second phases," Ledgerwood said.
The project has four phases. The first three stages received approval from the Bonner Springs City Council Monday, June 23.
Phase one will focus on the central portion of the camp.
A new parking lot, office, health lodge and trading post will be created west of what is now the main parking lot. The swimming pool will be expanded to hold 400 at one time, and an addition to the dining hall will allow it to accommodate 790 people, up from its capacity now of 460.
The second phase will revamp Cub World, which is the north section of the property that is designated for Cub Scouts, the youngest group of Scouts.
The main project will be a small waterpark.
"The waterpark will only be for 50 kids," Ledgerwood said. "We're going to build a riverboat, which may have some slides coming out of it into the waterpark. At the end of it, we'll show how to tie ropes. So, it will be a learning environment as well, not just all fun."
A lost mine, bathhouse and small dining shelter will also be built in Cub World.
Phase three will affect South Camp, focusing mainly on building a shower house, and phase four will build an outpost on the east side of the camp.
No timeline for the entire project has been set, although Ledgerwood said it would depend on funding.
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