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Camp Aldrich to host grand re-opening celebration March 31
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Construction on the new Camp Aldrich Dining and Events Center is in the final stages of construction and the public is invited to celebrate the facility’s completion at a Grand Re-Opening and Ribbon Cutting from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on March 31. The after-hours event is in conjunction with the Great Bend, Hoisington and Ellinwood chambers of commerce and Claflin Area Pride.
The event will feature free hotdogs, hamburgers and side dishes provided by Great Western Dining catering service with drinks provided by the Barton Foundation.
A program and ribbon cutting will begin at 6:20 p.m., followed by a drawing for door prizes, including a day-long rental of the new facility, a $425 value.
The original building caught fire in April 2014. The storied local wedding and event venue was the setting for countless major life events for area residents, making the loss tragic for many. However, Barton Community College envisioned a bigger, better facility.
The new Dining and Events Center, which is constructed completely from fire-resistant materials, is 25 percent larger upstairs with a capacity of 300. The lower level is twice as large as before, and can seat 100. A large outdoor patio space was added. High-efficiency heating and cooling systems have been installed as well as ADA compliance upgrades like an elevator and ramp. It features an expanded, fully-equipped industrial kitchen.
Several individuals and organizations donated funds to allow Barton to go above and beyond what insurance would cover for the $2.5 million project. Bob Dole donated $20,000 and Kans for Kids Fighting Cancer Foundation, Inc. raised $317,000 by selling tax credits. Both donations were made with Camp Hope in mind, expanding the size of the facility and customizing amenities to accommodate the children’s needs.
Barton Foundation Sporting Clay Shoot to return in 2016
The annual Barton Foundation Sporting Clay Shoot fundraiser was delayed until April 17, 2016, after the fire. Many sponsors who planned to be a part of the event in 2014 elected not to receive a refund to sponsor the event when it returned.
In only seven years, the shoot had already become one of the premier clay shooting events in the state and also one of the largest, said Coleen Cape, Coordinator of Fundraising and Special Events at the Barton Foundation.
Cape said there were two reasons the Foundation chose Camp Aldrich as the venue: the Foundation wanted to show off the the camp to promote its many uses to the public, and the layout and rustic wooded geography of the camp make for a challenging and enjoyable shoot.
Following the fire, the Foundation scouted several other venues and locations. Each one was found lacking in some way to meet the event’s needs.
“So, instead of forging ahead and holding a sub-standard event, it was decided by the Foundation Board of Directors to hold off and plan the event at Camp Aldrich for April 17,” Cape said. “This event promises to be bigger and better than ever and we are thankful to all of our donors for hanging in there with us.”
Registration is $60 per person. The deadline for early bird registration is April 1, after which the price will increase by $10. More information can be found at