Construction at the 10,600-acre Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in Fayette County is well under way, with fewer than 300 days left until the Boy Scouts arrive for the 2013 National Jamboree.
Gary Hartley, director of community and government relations, gave an update on the progress at the Summit last Tuesday at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.
He said approximately 1,000 acres will be used for the Jamboree and another 100 acres will be open for public access.
Several videos previewed what the Boy Scouts can expect when the construction is finished. Archery, mountain biking, hiking, rafting and zip-lining are just a few of the many outdoor adventure activities the Scouts will be able to enjoy.
In 2014, the Summit will host a Pilot Adventure Program for 5,000 Scouts. Another National Jamboree will be held in 2017, then in 2019, Hartley said a World Jamboree will be hosted at the Summit.
Although the World Jamboree will have the same number of Scouts as a National Jamboree, Hartley said it means the Fayette County Summit will be on the entire world stage.
The community will benefit from the Boy Scouts arrival in many ways, one of which is the addition of 10 high-capacity cell phone towers: five on site and five in the surrounding areas.
Hartley said once the new technology is in place, there will be 2.5 times as much bandwidth than the city of Charleston.
Many local jobs have also been created thanks to the Summit. Hartley said 80 percent of the workers are from the state and 20 percent of those workers are from Raleigh and Fayette counties.
Workers are on site six days per week, 20 hours a day to ensure the Summit will be ready for the 2013 National Jamboree.
“We’re full steam ahead,” Hartley said.
He said designers are world-class and include some of the minds behind the X-Games, Olympics and Disney parks.
“I’ve never seen this much talent brought together on a project like this.”
Their designs include all the outdoor adventure elements, such as canopy tours, a skateboarding facility and a Summit Center that will hold 80,000 people.
Two outdoor classrooms are being built, which are fully sustainable with wind and solar power.
A 75,000-square-foot distribution center will be built on site, as well several 2 million gallon water tanks.
In the coming months, two West Virginia water companies will begin filling the water tanks for the Summit utilities, which will total 8 million gallons.
Adam Hodges, with the steering committee, said they are focused on getting the community ready.
“Our mission is to make sure the vision is there and that the 2013 visitors will experience a hospitable atmosphere.”
He said Sherrie Hunter, with Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority, has been instrumental in helping volunteers with beautification projects, especially with litter removal.
Hodges estimates that 600 tons of trash will have been collected by July 15, 2013, the first day of the Boy Scouts Jamboree.
Jennifer Douglas with the Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia gave an update about the demonstration service projects from the Reaching the Summit Community Service Initiative.
Projects have already been completed by volunteers in Raleigh, Nicholas, Summers and Wyoming counties. Monroe and McDowell counties will be visited this week, and the service projects will wrap up in Mercer and Fayette counties.
The projects the Boy Scouts will perform will be announced Oct. 1.
“Although the Jamboree is 305 days away,” Douglas said last week, “it’s really right around the corner.”
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