New buildings help make Moose Lake Boy Scout base more efficient

by Nick Wognum

The staff at the Northern Tier Boy Scout Base on Moose Lake has been looking forward to using three new buildings erected over the past year.<BR><BR>“This will make us more efficient,” said BSA program director Terry Schocke. <BR><BR>The new Bay Post building holds the sleeping bags, tents and other items in a brightly lit main room. <BR><BR>A convenient counter area makes it easy for visiting scouts to pick up their gear as they get ready to head out on a trip. <BR><BR>“We issue all of our trail gear here from packs to pots and pans,” said Schocke. <BR><BR>Next to the Bay Post is a new building where tents, personal flotation devices can be cleaned and hung up to dry. <BR><BR>“It’s like a big garage with pipes in the ceiling to hang things on,” said Schocke. “But it’s large enough that we could hold some classes in there as well.” <BR><BR>There is a new staff duplex as well, with bunk beds and a bathroom in each side for base staff to use.<BR><BR>“It gives them a nice place to bunk,” said Schocke.<BR><BR>The changes affect the winter operations as well.<BR><BR>“We’ll be able to have our winter equipment in the basement of the Bay Post which will be more efficient than the way we did things in the past,” said Schocke.<BR><BR>Previously the tents were dried in the same building food was stored in, causing moisture problems at times.<BR><BR>The one thing that hasn’t changed is the number of people served. The new buildings are not an expansion, in fact one older structure was in the process of being torn down.<BR><BR>“These building projects are not to increase capacity, they are to increase efficiency,” said Schocke. “Over 3,000 people come through the community to get here each summer and we do try to buy as much locally as we can.” <BR><BR>There are six full-time staff at the Moose Lake location and a total of 200 part-time employees between Ely and the two bases in Canada, Bissett and Atikokan. <BR><BR>For general manager Doug Hirdler, the new buildings make for happier employees as well. <BR><BR>“The old area where we had our equipment had lights but it felt like a dark, dingy place,” said Hirdler.<BR><BR>The main building contractor for the projects was All-Phase Construction with six different contractors working on the project as well including Nickerson Construction, Burntside Electric and Brandau Plumbing and Heating. <BR><BR>“It was great to have local contractors. When we bid this out we had bids from other companies in Virginia but the local contractors’ bid was lower and they did such a super job,” said Hirdler.<BR><BR>Spending money locally is a goal of the Ely operation.<BR><BR>“I think when you take a look at all the businesses we end up using as vendors in Ely we spend about $500,000 locally each year,” said Hirdler. <BR><BR>With the $585,000 in improvements this year, the impact is well over $1 million.