By Angelica Ingram
Medeba is getting ready to climb to new peaks with the construction of a $1 million multi-purpose facility called Mountain Lodge.
Set to break ground on the building this spring Medeba staff informed the public of their plans at an information night held on Feb. 29 at the Haliburton Legion.
In the works for some time Medeba’s general director Steve Archibald told the crowd that a capital campaign to raise $950000 for the construction of the building has almost neared its goal.
The plan to replace the existing Mountain Lodge which measures approximately 1500 square feet has been in Medeba’s master plan for several decades however this is the first time the plan has been publicly shared in Haliburton said executive director Bruce Dunning.
Medeba which is in West Guilford has been in existence for more than 60 years established by Stu and Jackie Wilson.
A not-for-profit charity Medeba is a Christian organization that operates year round and provides summer camps leadership programs youth activities and more.
The original Mountain Lodge was built in 1960 back when the camp only had about 60 people said Archibald.
“Really it’s like the living room of Medeba” he said.
As the camp has grown in numbers so have the facilities as investments have been made in other areas including the dining hall and recreation.
However the existing Mountain Lodge which can accommodate up to 100 people is no longer on par with the capabilities of the other buildings.
With Medeba able to support 200 campers the time to build is now to allow the facility to continue to grow and accept more campers said Archibald.
Aside from capacity other problems with the Lodge include no washrooms/storage on site lack of accessibility and more.
Plans for Mountain Lodge include building a 8442 square foot building that will be two storeys high and will also include two covered porches (measuring an additional 1000 square feet) on opposite sides of the building.
The footprint will be approximately three times the size of the current building.
The building will be broken down into three main areas: Summit Hall – a large meeting room that can accommodate up to 200 people Canyon Lounge – a youth centred lounge that can hold up to 90 people and Crag Gym – a climbing gym and adventure area that can accommodate up to 40 people.
The hope is to have the climbing gym available to the community during the non-summer months said Archibald.
Located in the same place as the current lodge the building will have radiant floor heating on both levels a vaulted ceiling in the main meeting rooms and a climbing wall that measures up to 27 feet in height (at the tallest peak).
The general director said Medeba recently secured the building permits for the project and the groundbreaking will take place in April.
During the next four weeks Medeba will be dismantling the current building and a tent will be set-up for use during the summer months to replace the lodge.
Archibald said Medeba was able to keep total project costs down due to the fact the existing septic system in place for Mountain Lodge will be able to service the new site. There is also a pond on site that can be used as a water source in case of a fire.
“We will do lots of the labour ourselves” said Archibald.
Medeba took on all of the fundraising for the project themselves with this particular capital campaign being their largest in history. Their previous biggest campaign was to raise $250000 said Dunning.
“We are currently debt free and meeting our expenses annually” said the executive director in reference to why now was the time to build.
He added that in the past 20 years Medeba has invested $2 million into their facility.
The capital campaign began with staff and board members contributing $147648 towards the project (about 16 per cent) to show their support.
“We were really encouraged by that” said Dunning adding Medeba wanted to reflect a strong commitment to the project before going out and asking the public for their contributions.
A $90000 bequest brought the total amount raised to $231500. Now just a few weeks before the groundbreaking Medeba has raised a total of $868351 approximately 91 per cent of their goal.
The funds were raised without the help of government grants said Dunning.
With construction set to begin this April the hope is to have the building complete in the fall depending on if the total amount is raised.
A fundraiser golf tournament is scheduled for May 30 as well as a silent auction on April 2 which will also coincide with the groundbreaking for the new facility.
Medeba will be hosting an open house on Saturday July 16 which will include tours of the grounds.