By 2023, Boy Scouts visiting Camp Belzer in Lawrence will have an enhanced experience.
On Nov. 10, Crossroads of America Council broke ground on two new facilities at Camp Belzer: The Skip & Alex Lange Innovation Center and a maintenance facility. Both are part of a multi-year plan.
When finished, the $7 million project will include a 9,400-square-foot innovation center with STEM labs, makerspace, team-building areas, climbing and rappelling areas, BB gun and archery ranges and a conference space for events up to 150 people. A press release from the CAC said the center will be “at the heart of Camp Belzer” and “will become ‘activity central’ for the 200-acre campus.”
The renovation will restore Belzer Fieldhouse and improve and add structural assets. Included in the cost is a 9,700-square-foot maintenance building that will offer increased ability to maintain, organize and operate Camp Belzer’s 200 acres. The facility will have tool and tent storage and a storage yard for vehicles.
Crossroads of America Council is contracted with Garmong Construction Services, RATIO Architects, Fink Roberts & Petrie, Inc., R.E. Dimond and Associates, Inc., Design 27, American Structurepoint and FBi Buildings, Inc. for the construction and renovation of the facilities.
The camp opened 102 years ago. Its most recent update was in 2007, when a multiple-activity center, cabins and other structures were constructed. It is at 6102 Boy Scout Rd., Lawrence.
CAC Scout Executive/CEO Joseph E. Wiltrout, of Noblesville, said plans for Camp Belzer benefit the entire community, not just Scouts.
“Really, we’ve gone through about a three-year master plan process and building implementation process all around our ‘Growing Future Leaders’ capital campaign,” Wiltrout said. “What we have really decided is Camp Belzer is going to be the front door to the public for Scouting to be introduced to, and we really are looking for the innovation center to be a vehicle that can be a collaborative partner for our school systems and educational partner for our school systems and a place where Camp Belzer and the innovation center can be woven into the fabric of the community’s outdoor needs and wants.
“So, you don’t necessarily have to be a member of the Scouting organization to participate in the activities at the intervention center or at camp.”
Wiltrout envisions more improvements in the future.
“There’s much more planned,” he said. “There’s RV sites planned, there’s family camping tents planned, there’s a welcome center planned, there’s a new pool planned. It’s all a matter of the more money you raise, the more you can do. Scouting is living, growing and strong in the 26 counties here in central Indiana, from Illinois to Ohio, that the Crossroads of America Council serves.
“We continue to grow, we continue to impact our families and the communities we serve, and we feel that these improvements and this strategic direction is only going to put us in a better spot to serve those families and even more families in a much better way in the future.”
To donate, visit crossroadsbsa.org.
A look into the buildings
The Skip & Alex Lange Innovation Center
- 9,400 square feet
- Two classrooms
- A ropes course
- Rock walls
- RCI Activity Course
- Indoor archery range
- Indoor BB shooting range
- 9,700-square-foot, pre-engineered metal building
- Used by camp rangers to address all current and future maintenance needs
- Tool and tent storage
- Storage yard for vehicles