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Archives Renovations upgrade Camp Guggenheim

December 1, 2021

By Darcy Fargo

SARANAC LAKE – Visitors returning to Camp Guggenheim in 2022 will see changes made at the facilities thanks in large part to the generosity of It’s Your Church, It’s Your Future Capital Campaign donors.

Though summer camp has not run at the facility for the past two summers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, work has been taking place at the camp both years.

“In some ways, COVID made completing the work easier, but it made other aspects much more difficult,” said Deacon James Crowley, chancellor of the diocese. “We had a much longer construction season than normal because we didn’t have to work around the Summer Camp schedule, but difficulties obtaining supplies – especially things like windows and doors – slowed our progress on portions of the projects.”

At the main camp, ventilation was installed in all three main buildings – dorm, ‘In’ and dining hall.

“We added ventilation and fans to the peaks of the buildings to cool them off,” said Deacon Crowley.

Many windows and doors were replaced, as well.

“New windows were installed in the bedrooms in the dorm last year,” Deacon Crowley said. “We’re replacing all the windows in the dining hall and replacing the crash doors in the dorms and ‘In.’ The crash doors open appropriately and have windows that allow people to see if someone is on the other side before opening. We’re also replacing the windows in the lounges of the dorm. We had a three-panel aluminum window system. They looked like sliding glass doors and haven’t worked in years. They’re being replaced with double-hung windows. Because of the supply issues, window work is will likely continue into the spring.”

Also at the main camp, the decks on the dorm have been replaced.

“The initial idea was to level the decks,” Deacon Crowley said. “As we started that project, it was discovered that the joists were rotted out. We opted to build two new decks of the same size but better constructed –pressure treated lumber and composite decking replaced untreated wood, and the new decks meet current code requirements for railing height.”

When the original decks were removed, it also revealed unexpected problems with the dorm structure.

“The dorm was never properly flashed to keep water from the decks off the structure,” Deacon Crowley said. “The outer support beam of the building was rotted along both decks. The rot extended into one corner of the building. In the middle lounge, the rot extended into the building itself. We had to repair joists and some interior flooring.”

Also at the main camp, work was done to update the living area above the garage.

“Most people will never see this work, but it was a big part of the project,” Deacon Crowley said. “The upstairs of the garage – referred to as the rec building – was gutted. It used to have a bathroom and three bedrooms. Now, there are two large bedrooms up there, and each has a toilet room, a sink area and a shower room. Those areas are typically used by staff during summer camp. Now I can also see them great options for Family Camp.”

In addition to the work at the main camp, work was also done at the lodge.

“There are two entry doors on the front porch of the lodge,” Deacon Crowley said. “The entry closest to the boathouse now has a handicap-accessible ramp.”

The lodge also now offers an additional restroom.

“There was a small room between the kitchen and dining room,” he said. “That area now has a half bath and a broom closet. Previously, all bathrooms in the downstairs were accessible only by going through a bedroom. Now, we have a bathroom that’s more easily accessible.”

Deacon Crowley said the projects were funded largely by the It’s Your Church, It’s Your Future Capital Campaign.

“Thanks to the generosity of capital campaign donors, we’ve been able to do a lot of work to make camp better, more accessible, safer and more comfortable,” he said. “This ensures the buildings are ready to face the next 50 years. Is there more to do? Sure. But we’ve been able to address critical needs and improve the Guggenheim Center.”

Deacon Crowley also noted that GYMO Architecture, Engineering and Land Surveying and Murnane Building have been “wonderful to work with.”

“GYMO and Murnane worked with us to identify efficient and innovative repairs and upgrades that maintain the feel of the Guggenheim Center,” he said. “When problems cropped up, they worked hard to make efficient and lasting repairs while controlling costs.”

As the construction season comes to a close and work ends for the year, Deacon Crowley said he’s hoping there’s another change to look forward to at camp in 2022.

“The buildings are in shape and ready for the future,” he said. “We’re really hopeful that we’ll have kids running around at camp next year!”


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