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BCC to rebuild Camp Aldrich cabin
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Fire destroys a Camp Aldrich cabin on Aug. 10.

Barton Community College trustees instructed administrations to look at rebuilding a cabin at Camp Aldrich that was destroyed by an apparent electrical fire on Aug. 10.

Options were discussed Tuesday at the BCC Board of Trustees meeting. Vice President of Administration Mark Dean presented the facts:

• Both the State Fire Marshal and the Special Fire Investigator for Barton’s insurance company determined the fire was “electrical in nature” and the source could not be determined. A bug light was suspected.

• The college has replacement coverage on the facility. This will include required code upgrades to the facility as well as the inventory of the building. There is a $25,000 deductible.

• If the decision is made not to rebuild, the college will get the insured value of the building, minus the deductible and depreciation.

• If rebuilding was to occur, the design must be approved by Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. It must include a sprinkler system and cannot include above-ground water storage. One possibility is to move the building closer to the Dining and Events Center and tie in to the water system that its sprinklers use.

• A larger building might be a better option. Dean has started discussions with individuals who might be interested in donating funds for an upgrade.

The college routinely loses money on Camp Aldrich, except for Fiscal Year 2014 when the price of oil was high and an oil well on the land more than made up the loss.

“On average we lose about $45,000 a year on Camp Aldrich,” Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said.

After a fire in April of 2014 destroyed the Dining and Events Center, improvements were made that went beyond the insurance. This was done with about $80,000 in college money, and Camp Hope and Kans for Kids raised substantial amounts by selling tax credits.

“The decision to rebuild the facility was a humanitarian decision made for the good of the community as well as the groups that use Camp Aldrich,” Dean reported Tuesday. Since the reopening of Camp Aldrich in September of 2015, it has become a popular wedding and events venue. The college also uses the facility.

The cabin that was destroyed on Aug. 10 is considered the hunting lodge because it includes two bedrooms, a kitchen and restrooms. It also holds 40 bunks, which are used when Camp Hope and other camps reserve the facility. Without those beds, camps might move to other venues.

If a new building isn’t finished before next summer’s camps, some campus housing will be made available to the groups in the interim.

Trustees instructed Dean to prepare a report showing the cost of simply rebuilding as the insurance policy allows; rebuilding with a larger building that would house more campers; or rebuilding a 160-bed facility, about 80 by 100 feet, that could potentially house all campers.

Barton Community College trustees Tricia Reiser and John Moshier listen to a presentation during Tuesday’s board meeting. Each of the trustees was given a jar of pickles made with cucumbers from the college’s community garden. - photo by Susan Thacker

Trustees meeting at a glance

Here’s a quick look at the agenda for Tuesday’s Barton Community College Board of Trustees meeting:

• The board heard presentations on Barton’s Trio programs, which assist about 1,400 students a year. Two students in one of those programs, Central Kansas Upward Bound, spoke of the positive impact it has had on their lives.

• Faculty Council Vice President Peter Solie gave a report on the council, and Dean of Institutional Effectiveness Charles Perkins gave the strategic planning report.

• Vice President of Administration Mark Dean gave an update on the Aug. 10 fire that destroyed a cabin at the Camp Aldrich facility and was instructed to look into options for rebuilding a similar building or, with the help of potential donors, a larger one.

• The board approved purchasing the TouchNet management system for a total of $86,000 annually.

• There was a 20-minute executive session for discussion of the performance of an employee. Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman was asked to join the board in this discussion. No action was taken.