Rowe Camp Refresh

Rowe Camp and Conference Center is near and dear to many people.  Some of us remember the camp before the purchase of the Sibley Farm (referred to now as the Farmhouse) and before Rowe Camp became Rowe Camp and Conference Center.  In comparison to the cabins, infirmary, Rec Hall, old split-level bathhouse, and the beloved Bonnie Blink Bungalow that once made up RCCC, today’s facilities are impressive.  We now have a campus suitable for conferences year round and a camp for campers that still feels much the same as it did forty summers ago.  

To allow our camp to be here for many years to come, however, some of the buildings, such as the cabins, can use some preventative maintenance.  And while great gains have been made, there have been some losses as well. Some of the original camp buildings have been destroyed.  The loss of the Bonnie Blink in 1978, due to a fire, was a great tragedy. The camp’s original buildings created a circle with the Blink in the middle, making it the center of camp.  

This proposal will show how we can re-create that center. It will address the maintenance of existing structures as well as demonstrate how we can re-establish some of the camp’s buildings that were lost over time.

We have a responsibility to be effective stewards of the camp. The history and “spirit” of the buildings have much to do with the special feeling Rowe has.  There is something magical about the feeling you get when you enter one of the cabins and find your name as graffiti – right where you wrote it a long, long summer ago.  Being able to sit on the Rec Hall porch and contemplate the stars overhead, the same way you did in your youth, is a feeling that cannot be replaced.

This proposal grew from a desire of former Rowe campers from the 70s to make sure the cabins and other buildings remain vital to the camp experience and from the very real need to improve the camp infrastructure. The 70s campers invite campers and camp parents of all generations to support this work. 

This proposal addresses the following:

  • Undertake those repairs and upgrades to the camp buildings and campus that need to be done expeditiously (Phase One).
  • Remove the old bathhouse structure (now nicknamed Chicken Butt), but preserve its foundation (Phase One).
  • Increase the camp’s total possible occupancy by rebuilding the lost cabins (Phase 2).

The project will be implemented in four phases as funds are raised and made available. Those phases are described below.  

Phase One Estimated Cost Rationale/Comments
1) Repair foundations of cabins $12,465.00 Bid
estimated cost
Independently of the proposal, the Stewardship Committee recommended getting an excavator to rework the drainage around the cabins, which has been largely responsible for the damage to the cabin and splits foundations.  In addition, the Stewardship Committee recognized that all buildings would need to be brought up to code following their December 2011 inspection.
2) Install new roofs (metal) on each cabin $41,825.00 (Good)
$50,955.00 (Better)
Bid estimated cost 
3) Repair/install drainage around split-level bathhouse None available
4) Repair portion of King’s Highway that ends at Rec Hall None available
5) Any repairs or modifications necessary as required by December 2011 building inspection. None available Inspection has been completed. Most of the corrections were minor.
6) Remove Chicken Butt. On its footprint, erect a temporary tent or ramada/gazebo which will serve as a gathering place for campers. None available The temporary structure could be a tent similar to the one that covers the oval/volleyball court during camp sessions. Alternatively, a gazebo/ramada structure could be built during this phase rather than Phase 4.
Phase Two Estimated Cost Rationale/Comments
1) Install/upgrade camp area septic system to increase system to a maximum capacity of ~125 people. None available This is anticipated as necessary to meet occupancy/capacity of system issues.
2) Remove tents and tent platforms (red structures in diagram). Note: the tent platforms were constructed 40 years ago as a temporary solution to the loss of camper and staff housing following the destruction of three cabins. None available The tents are used as staff housing during camp season, but some need to be replaced or removed.
3) Build three new cabins near or on footprints of cabins destroyed in the Winter of 1971: Page, Worcester and McClellan, similar to existing cabins in size and construction. None available  
Phase Three Estimated Cost Rationale/Comments
Construct a permanent pavilion on footprint of Chicken Butt or in another area near cabins—diagram 2 shows pavilion near oval. None available

Design and build a pavilion for the campers.  The Stewardship Committee noted that Chicken Butt has a substantial poured foundation.  If that were filled with gravel after the building is razed and a roof constructed over it, the campers would have a covered space in which to gather.

Phase Four Estimated Cost Rationale/Comments
Construct new Infirmary/staff housing building (where the old Infirmary stood, if possible). None available Campers need an infirmary that is closer to the cabins than OGH (which is the infirmary during camp season).

Existing Camp Buildings and Occupancy

Proposed Camp Configuration at Completion of Phase 4

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