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Cost of the Summit - Big Dig Part 2?

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A million here, a million there, pretty soon you're talking real money.


Maybe shy of the amount to build a Disneyworld or college campus, but still I wonder why the high cost for an outdoor camp and where all that money will come from, maybe the next Jambo will be even more expensive? So far, I think donations have totaled 100 million.


170 million to prepare site for Jambo 2013

300 million to further develop for high adventure camp and possible World Jambo bid


1/2 billion?


I read about this on NPR (includes audio interview with Bob Mazzuca) and other sources (hard to find the earlier articles that mentioned World Jambo bid).






A scout is thrifty.




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Thats fantastic that those kinds of donations are pouring in, its a bold statement by the business leaders of America regarding the importance that scouting plays in lives of our young men.

As far as the scouts being thrifty and the cost of the Summit. As someone who makes his living in the construction industry I can tell you that; First, the scouts dont have the luxury of telling the contractors what they are going to charge and while I havent seen all the plans, what I have seen is first rate and being done right. This will be a world class facility second to none in the world! Couple that with the fact that you are taking undeveloped rugged mountain area and for all intensive purposes putting in all the infrastructure that you would for a small city, plus all the amenities associated with a high adventure base, the cost is certainly not out of line.

Wish I had an extra $25 million, Id throw it at this project in a heartbeat!


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I will not build what I do not need nor what I cannot afford.


I have seen too many council construction projects go overboard and/or underfunded and they are in a deep hole - camp timber has to be cut and camps have to be sold.


Here's an example Pine Tree Council, in Portland, Maine built a new council headquarters - the Alton E. Chuck Cianchette Scout Service Center and it is first rate and was done right but could we afford it?


but the money ran out and council is short about a million. So timber was harvested from Camp Gustin and it will likely be sold too.



So why the high cost (it's already a wilderness, add an entrance road, some plumbing, gear, and base camp support buildings), and where's the money coming from? I fear nearby councils will be encouraged to sell existing (competing) camp properties to pay for the Summit.


My $0.01



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If you're thinking of the Summit as just an "outdoor camp" (what's an indoor camp, BTW? ;) ), you need to start thinking from scratch.


Even just a cursory glance at the BSA's materials on the Summit shows that it's not just a wilderness area with primitive camping.


- It's got to have the civil infrastructure - roads, buildings, water, sewer, electricity, Internet access - to handle thousands of Scouts every few years for national Jamborees and possibly world Jambos as well.


- It's got to have the adventure infrastructure - facilities and equipment for swimming, boating, climbing, mountain biking - for HA treks and activities.


- And it's got to have the corporate infrastructure in place - the Scouting Leadership and Training Center, a visitor's center, a BSA museum and lodging for those who want to come but don't want to sleep under canvas.


In addition, the first national Jambo is due there in 2013. That's a little over two years to get the entire site ready. That means working FAST - which in turn means lots of money in incentives to get it working. The last thing National wants is to get complaints that the toilets are backing up on the VIPs.

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In other words, we are building the equivalent of AP Hill from scratch.

My bet is right now The Summit couldn't even support 3000 people let alone 30,000.

Do we need Jambo? Do we need another HA camp? Demand seems to indicate so.


Could we do without both? The majority of scouts do.

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RememberSchiff mentioned the "fun" we're having up here in Pine Tree Council. Our grass roots efforts have worked for now. PTC has decided not to sell Gustin according to a press release yesterday afternoon. Article in the Lewiston Sun Journal at:




Back to the topic at hand, it does seem like an awful lot of money to me that could be spent elsewhere to support scouting.

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We're not seeing the complete cost picture. There are going to be hidden costs with construction and grading and surveying and utilities being brought in (and dug), that just don't appear on the surface.


Alot of the cost is built into the project simply by building something at all. Building permits, contractor fees... It all adds up.



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Actually, we're not getting much of a picture of anything.


Has anyone found any real details? Other than a conceptual site plan, I can't find any real information on the project. Everything at the BSA sites is the same PR we've seen for a year. One page was a list of the generic site selection criteria; then another page listed pretty much the same attributes as the benefits of the WVa site. Other pages tout the economic benefits to the area of the project.


Beyond about four pages on the BSA web site, they refer you to a Facebook page for The Summit. But that's mostly discussions


One of the most informative pages I found was from the local economic development corporation which had some info on the planning and development contracts.


Otherwise, it's hard to say much about the cost. I assume the $170m includes more than just the cost of the 800 acre jamboree site. Land acquistion, planning, site development and infrastructure cost are normally front-loaded into the first phase of a project, which is the jamboree site.


I did read somewhere that there would be "no vertical construction" prior to 2013, in other words, no buildings only site development. I don't really understand that. For example, it wouldn't seem to be a big deal to build permanent shower and toilet facilities if the utilities are in, particularly given the cost of building temporary facilities.


Like I always say, you can have it good, quick or cheap -- pick two. Anyone wanting to guess which two we're going to get?

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Half a billion, hidden costs. hmmmmmm


Why not, we waste money on paper troops and crews



I am so sick of the lying and deceit we are seeing on a council and national level.


I have drank the kool aide, Yet, I am not blinding following what I am told is the truth and right by national.


First and foremost scouting is a business, NEVER FORGET THAT.

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But I thought the Big Idea for having our own site is the facilities would be shared by the high adventure base, training center and other on-going operations, thus saving the expense of building and trashing jamboree facilities every four years.


Obviously jamboree is going to need facilities the other operations won't need, and I'm not suggesting jamboree site has to be 100% on day one, but compare the marginal cost of a couple dozen permanent shower houses to the black plastic mazes built at AP Hill, which all ended up in a dumpster. If you start with the assumption good sanitation requires water, sewer, a concrete pad and floor drains, adding block walls building and truss/metal roof and plumbing fixtures isn't a big deal.


There is a fine line between building as cheaply and quickly as possible and building cheaper and quicker than possible.


Of course this is based on a lot of assumptions. I assume for $170 million worth of site work you get utilities. I also assume the final product is fairly utilitarian and comparable with the nicer/newer stuff you see at a Scout camp. But those assumptions are based on an absolute lack of sound data about what the actual plans are.


Of course, National may have this All Figured Out. But their Mr. Rogers PR machine sure doesn't instill much confidence.


(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

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  • 2 weeks later...

A lot of money, yes. But it doesn't take much for one to get there anymore. It is mostly pre-graded, yes. However you are talking about 10,000 acres of infrastructure...water, sewer, power, internet, roads. You are talking about them being usuable on a continueing basis. Not just for two weeks. Not even for just two weeks every four years. You are talking about a national summer camp running 30,000 Scouts a year through, PLUS the High Adventure Base with maybe another 30,000? You are also taking about things such as the bridge, not necessary you say? This is West Virginia, try getting 5,000 Scouts across a roaring drainage area after a storm. There is also the construction of three lakes. Then there is the High Adventure Base, the training center, etc. Now add in the fact that it is being done "green" which also increases costs. This is a major project, not your local forest site with 20 campsites.

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  • 1 year later...

BSA is buying another 2700 acres


"...to create a contiguous path for scouts to trek from the BSAs property to the New River Gorge National River.. the BSA will land bank it for the time being, but that it will likely be incorporated into their trekking program to provide multi-night hiking opportunities from The Summit to the New River Gorge beginning in 2014...working with the National Park Service and the BSA to create a string of pearls to make sure scouts can get from one site to another."




No word on purchase price. The previous owner Twelve and Six West Virginia Partners LLC (a Texas company?) will keep mineral rights to property while BSA will be obligated to treat the land as if it were Park Service property (???).


Another $0.02,



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The days of getting a bunch of people together and building a few cabins to call it a camp are long gone. I'm involved with a Christian camp that has been building a new year round retreat center. The facility is designed to sleep 40 or so with a kitchen and common area. While much of the labor is volunteer and doneas the money comes in, it's been a 3 year project for just phase 1. The codes and inspections are killers. They had to put in a new 10 or 20,000 gallon holding tank for the fire supression system, a septic system that will handles a small army, a full commercial kitchen etc. etc..etc. This is for a building that will be used mostly on weekends only. It's pushing 7 figures for one building.


Multiply that by the infrastructure a brand new full blown camp needs and you can see the cost.

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