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Camp Aldrich study shows issues, options
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Barton Community College trustees continue to look at what should be done with the Camp Aldrich facility. This photo shows the exterior of the dining hall/meeting room. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Editor’s note: Barton Community College has hired an outside agency to evaluate the issues and potential future uses for its Camp Aldrich camp/conference center, located between Claflin and Cheyenne Bottoms. This three-part series will look at some of the suggested upgrades and their costs, as well as possible solutions and recommendations of the consultant, and the reaction of college trustees.



Barton Community College’s Camp Aldrich facility has been well maintained, but it would cost more than $1.5 million to do everything on one list of needed and suggested improvements. On the other hand, the college may want to save some of that money and market the facility for its rustic appeal.

Last year, the college hired a consultant to look at how Camp Aldrich can best be used and marketed, and what it would cost. The "Camp Aldrich Feasibility Study" by Ted Lee Eubanks of Fermata Inc. will be one topic when the BCC Board of Trustees holds its June study session at 4 p.m. Thursday in room F-30 of the Fine Arts Building. A copy of Fermata’s findings was included in the study session materials released this week.

The report begins with information supplied by the college. BCC accepted a state and federal grant for the 290-acre property in 1976, agreeing Camp Aldrich "would be placed in use as an outdoor recreation facility and will be retained for such use in perpetuity," the report notes.

"According to Kansas Wildlife and Parks, none of the property within this project can be sold, and disposal of the property would require another entity or agency agreeing to the original restrictions. The facility must continue to be operated primarily for recreation.

"If the college can no longer accept the loss of operating the facility, and no other entity has taken the responsibility of operating it for recreation, Barton possibly would be in default of the original agreement if the camp is closed. According to KWP, this means that the college would be ineligible for federal financial aid dollars or federal grants."

Once a money maker for the college, Camp Aldrich has broken even over the past decade, but lost nearly $30,000 over the past two years. Meanwhile, the American Cancer Society, which uses the facility annually for Camp Hope, has requested major improvements, including two new additions: an air conditioned cabin estimated to cost $595,000, and a multi-purpose outdoor facility/recreational court costing $255,500.

Other deferred maintenance and construction requests, some of which are in progress, include:

• Dining hall decks replaced — $33,300

• Shower house facility upgrades — $31,000.

• Access road improvements — $30,000, to be shared with Logan Township.

• Replace beds and mattresses — $7,000.

• Replace pressure tanks in well house — $4,900.

• Swimming Pool: Replace lighting, pump, chlorinator, etc.; repair concrete, replace fixtures in restroom and showers — $66,900.

• Replace dining hall restroom facilities and address accessibility — $62,000.

• Sidewalk replacement — $12,300

• Sleeping cabin restroom facilities and lighting replacement (six cabins) — $175,000.

• Renovation of the kitchen and replacement of various pieces of equipment and furniture — $214,000.

• Signage — $6,900.

• Replacement of capital equipment (mower, tractor, truck, Gator) — $79,000.

• Repair horse corral and shelter — $7,500

• Additional manpower — $15,000 annually.

However, the consultant doesn’t necessarily recommend making all of the above improvements. "The camp, as currently comprised, may not be acceptable to Camp Hope or other summer-camp organizations," the report states. "There are other groups and functions, however, which would prefer the more rustic setting and conditions, and would be interested in using the facility at other times of the year. The question is how to attract these groups and manage the facility for the betterment of the community and the college."