The Black Diamond Council covers most of West Virginia and a few counties in eastern Ohio, western Virginia and Maryland.
"Girls from Ohio won't be interested in our heritage, but we'll take them to Town Center, do some consumer shopping." That's a program aimed at teaching girls about smart shopping, Thompson said. "They shop, but they may not make a good buy. A lot of us don't necessarily know how to buy what we need."
Architect Marie McCauley, engineer Mary Jo Cleland and interior designer Jill Watkins have been working on the project as part of a design/build team with Paramount Builders, said Adam Krason, a principal for ZMM.
"It's a renovation, but it's more accurate to call it a renovation-addition, because we're taking one-third off the front of the building and reconstructing the front portion. They really wanted to change the character of the building to meet their vision."
Construction costs for the 28,500-square-foot project are about $5.3 million, not counting the $1.5 million the council paid for the property, Krason said.
The Black Diamond Council has completed about 20 percent of its $6 million fundraising campaign, Thompson said. It's looking for bank loans as well as private donations.
"We're still looking for a major donor. We believe there are people who want to make this happen.
"If it were my job, I'd start [construction] tomorrow and finish in 10 months. You can't break ground until you raise the money.
"We've been talking about this for eight or 10 years, because we've outgrown our current location. We've had a headquarters task force for four years. We looked at sites all over Charleston. Parking is a major issue for us. As you can see, there's 47 spaces over there [in the former used car lot across Virginia Street] that volunteers can use.
"We sold a couple of camps," Thompson said. "We didn't see the use. Kids said they want a more urban kind of situation, and we want to be part of the situation. We've taken the concept all over. They are just loving it. They want to be the first ones here."
Reach Jim Balow at ba...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.