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Future looking brighter for Camp Virgil Tate pool

CHARLESTON, W.Va.-- Officials for Camp Virgil Tate and the West Virginia Extension Service are getting closer to replacing to camp's crumbling swimming pool.

"I'm not sure many people thought it was possible, but we're getting there," said Kerri Wade, Kanawha County Extension agent and chairwoman of a committee set up to find money to replace the pool.

"The figure we're shooting for to raise is $850,000," Wade said. "We're two-thirds of the way there."

Camp Virgil Tate's swimming pool shut for good in 2008 after years of problems and decay. Camp staff were unable to come up with a plan to raise the $300,000 needed to repair the pool.

That's when Wade stepped in. Knowing that Camp Virgil Tate is an important site for local 4-H camps, and knowing it's hard to have a 4-H camp without a pool, she decided to see what could be done to repair or replace the facility.

Wade talked members of the local plumbers and pipefitters union into agreeing to donate labor to help with the project, and started a fundraising campaign.

Originally, Wade wanted to build a pool with a saltwater filtration system to cut down on the cost of maintenance and chemicals. But Wade said the pool will be too big for a saltwater system to work.

New plans are for a conventional chlorinated pool. Wade said the existing pool will be completely dug up and replaced. Existing bathhouses will be completely renovated to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and new fencing will be installed.

The pool will run from four to seven feet deep and include an ADA-compliant ramp.

"We would really love to put this out for bid this fall," Wade said.

When Wade first presented the idea of building a new pool to members of the Kanawha County Commission last year, Commission President Kent Carper suggested building a small splash pool to keep down costs.

But Wade said a splash pool -- little more than a wading pool with sprinklers and other games -- is not what is needed at Camp Virgil Tate. "The community is not really interested in that," she said. "They want a community pool."

Wade said a small wading pool will be built at Camp Virgil Tate, with the ability to add splash pool fixtures later.

Fundraisers have brought in about $30,000 in donations, she said.

"We've gotten about $100,000 in community grant funding [from the Legislature]," she said. The figure includes a $2,000 grant recently announced by state Delegate Meshea Poore, D-Kanawha.

Camp officials are also expecting about $300,000 in revenue from timber sales at the camp, where about 400 acres will be selectively logged over the spring and summer. Pledges and and in-kind contributions are expected to bring in another $158,000, Wade said.

That leaves the project about $350,000 short. Wade is trying to figure out now where the money will come from.

Reach Rusty Marks at rustymarks@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.

 


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