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Clark Construction Scouts Out 350 Acres for Camp

Wed May 10, 2006 - Southeast Edition
Angela B. Hurni



As Camp William B. Snyder approached its grand opening on May 6, The Clark Construction Group Inc., the general contractor, finished various tasks to prepare the 350-acre camp in Haymarket, VA, for the 5,000 Cub Scouts expected this summer.

Touted as one of the premier Scout Camps in the nation, the $17-million Camp Snyder is being built and operated by the National Capital Area Council (NCAC), which represents scouts and volunteers in the District of Columbia as well as 16 counties in Virginia and Maryland. The camp will accommodate Cub Scouts in addition to Boy Scouts, said Mike Donaghue, director of support services with the NCAC; however, the camp’s focus will be on “Cub Scouts ages six to 10.”

The camp is located in Prince William County on 350 acres (140 ha) once envisioned as the site of a Disney theme park 12 years ago. The NCAC acquired the land in the late 1990s and identified the construction of Camp Snyder as a priority for its scouting community. The Council has created more than 100 acres (40 ha) of wetlands at Camp Snyder in order to preserve the site’s natural state and continue attracting birds and wildlife while catering to the exploring needs of scouts. A 20-acre (8 ha) lake also will be available to the scouts.

No Profit for the Prime

Peter C. Forster, chairman and CEO of Bethesda, MD-based Clark Construction Group and a member of the NCAC’s executive board, offered Clark’s services on this project as general contractor while accepting no profit. Donaghue and the NCAC, who realize that Clark is “involved with much bigger projects,” are appreciative of Forster’s generosity.

According to Ben Eaflick, Clark’s superintendent of the project, the company did not perform any of the work on the new camp itself. Subcontractors performed plumbing, electrical, carpentry and site work as well as many other tasks. Initially, 200,000 cu. yds. (152,000 cu m) of dirt had to be brought to the site.

As workers wrapped up, Eaflick said workers were finishing the interior of the dining hall and finalizing completion of theme areas. In addition, site grading was being finished, as well as the asphalt for the entrance.

Not Quite ’Roughing It’

One of the most impressive amenities, and the centerpiece of the camp, is a 600-seat dining hall. According to Donaghue, “It is the biggest dining hall facility in Prince William County because of its capacity.”

The kitchen area of the dining hall has masonry walls with wood trusses for the roof. The dining area has a combination of structural steel and wood for the framing. Exposed Glue-Lam beams, which support the Tectum roof deck system, can be seen in the dining area.

Other amenities include an aquatics center, activity pavilions and an environmental education center. There will be five shower houses with masonry walls and wood trusses for the roofs.

Each of the 14 campsites will have nine roomy tents on wooden decks. Furthermore, the leadership challenge course, called COPE, and the International Youth Hostel will distinguish the camp from others like it.

When the camp opens to scouts in June, not only will Camp Snyder have all the amenities expected of a scout camp, but it will also have unique themed areas in its Cub Scout resident camp called Cub World. The themed areas include: the Pirate Ship, the Native American Village, the Western Fort, the Space Port and the Big Dig.

The Big Dig themed area allows scouts to act as paleontologists by digging up replicas of dinosaur bones and assembling dinosaur skeletons. The Native American Village has authentic teepees while the Western Fort provides a BB gun shooting range. Future astronauts will enjoy the Space Port section by exploring a simulation of Mars and having access to a planetarium. A 67-ft. (200 m) climbing wall will be built “at some point in the future during another phase,” said Donaghue.

Ultimately, Camp William B. Snyder has the capacity for 12,000 campers. Donaghue is confident that the camp will reach that volume “in about three years when we have marketed the program enough.” CEG