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Major renovations planned for camp building

By March of 2008, Camp Waskowitz will have a new kitchen, dining hall, water system and electrical system. The camp, located on Southeast 150th Street in North Bend, is past due for the renovations since it has been using kitchen appliances that had last been replaced in the 1940s.

Built in 1935, the camp was originally used for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a work relief program for young men established to combat the poverty and unemployment of the Great Depression. Highline School District took over operations at the camp in 1946, changing it into an educational facility. Because of its CCC history, the renovations will include rehabilitation of the historic building structures with modern amenities.

"Waskowitz was put together creatively and innovatively," said Roberta McFarland, director of the camp. "That means it was a lot of begging and borrowing to put it together." When the camp was first built, funding was scarce because of the Great Depression. Funding has not improved much since that time, which explains why most of the camp has the same facilities now as it did then. The camp's two dormitories were renovated in the late 1990s, but most of its nine buildings await future renovations, McFarland said.

Construction on the camp will not begin until June of 2007, but McFarland is excited.

"We just have design work so far," McFarland said. "I have drawings of what it will look like."

Construction will start on the kitchen wing, which will be torn down and rebuilt from scratch, McFarland said. Presently, the floors in the kitchen have dips and slants from past earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters, McFarland said. The uneven floor created gaps between the walls and the floors, which staff from the camp sealed with duct tape to prevent insects from entering. During the renovation, the floors will be leveled and the gaps will be properly sealed.

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