By Carol McIntire
FFA Camp Muskingum officials are celebrating the first step in their campaign to construct a new Muskingum Discovery Center. A campaign kicked off last year, during the FFA Camp’s 70th anniversary, to raise $2.5 million to build a facility to replace the Nature Center, which was destroyed by fire in 2001.
That campaign has been so successful a groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday on the banks of Leesville Lake for the new Muskingum Discovery Center. The building will sit on the east bank of the lake in an area presently used as a parking lot.
FFA Camp Director Todd Davis told a group of donors and supporters who were treated to a tour of the camp and dinner, $1,210,664 of the $1.65 million needed to construct the building has been raised.
Ohio FFA President Matthew Klopfenstein who conducted the official meeting, noted plans are to open the center in the fall of 2016. The new 7,500-square foot timber frame building, designed by local Architect Milt Studer, will have space for large banquets (350 people), community events and recreational and educational presentations.
It will be available for use by FFA chapters as well as non-profit groups, businesses, organizations, schools and groups from across the state.
The center will include historic, current and future agricultural and energy technology displays as well as a new interactive Nature Center and other all-weather recreational spaces.
According to Davis, the Discovery Center will be timber frame construction with other “green components and technologies.” “The green component and technologies will make the building itself an educational opportunity in conservation and environmental exploration,” Davis said.
Anyone who would like to make a donation to the project should contact Davis by calling 330-627-2208.