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Crews Break Ground on Boy Scouts Adventure Camp in West Virginia

Fri November 05, 2010 - Northeast Edition
John Raby

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) More than $100 million has been donated toward construction of a Boy Scouts of America adventure camp and the permanent home of the group’s national jamboree in southern West Virginia, Scouts officials announced Oct. 22.

Ground was broken on the 10,600-acre project in Fayette County between Glen Jean, Prince and Mount Hope. The camp will take advantage of the New River Gorge National River and the area’s recreational opportunities, including whitewater rafting, mountain biking and rock climbing.

Bob Mazzuca, the national organization’s chief scout executive, said the project’s roads, water and sewer development and lake will cost $170 million to build and would be completed in time to host the national jamboree from July 15 to 24, 2013.

The Scouts’ 100th anniversary was marked at this year’s jamboree in Fort A.P. Hill, Va. The jamboree attracts nearly 30,000 Scouts from around the United States and 12,000 staff and volunteers.

It will take an additional $300 million to build permanent facilities for the adventure camp portion of the park and that’s expected to be completed by 2014, Mazzuca said. The camp will complement existing Scout adventure bases in Minnesota, New Mexico and Florida.

The camp also will be a contender to host the 2019 World Scout Jamboree, which is held every four years. The event will be held in Sweden in 2011 and in Japan in 2015.

Scout officials plan to travel to Brazil for a world conference in January to officially seek the 2019 event.

“We’re going down there with the full-court press on,” Mazzuca said. “I fully anticipate we’re going to win the bid, but we won’t appear too confident.”

Retired engineering and construction magnate Stephen Bechtel Jr. kicked off the project a year ago with a $50 million gift. The camp is being called The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve.

Among the additional gifts announced Oct. 22 was a $25 million donation from the Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation of Omaha, Neb.

Walter Scott Jr., former CEO of Omaha-based construction contractor Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc., said his success in business had its roots in the Boy Scouts.

“I enjoyed the opportunity to learn new things, I enjoyed the camaraderie with my fellow Scouts, and I especially enjoyed the camping,” Scott said. “The love and respect for the outdoors and our natural environment that Scouting instilled in me continues to this day.”

More than $20 million in construction contracts have been awarded on the project, which is expected to generate 600 jobs.

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