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Capital Project Management

During my tenure the Northern New Jersey Council had nine properties in its inventory, including our service center, and I directed more than four million dollars in capital improvements. 


When I became the Director of Support Services, there were many challenges facing our Properties Group. We had a healthy capital fund but spreading resources over all our properties proved to be challenging. The project list was daunting: an incomplete shower house at our largest camp was $100,000 over budget and had no contractors in place; a septic failure at our cub resident camp; two incomplete bunk houses at one camp and two not even started at another. I immediately engaged one of our strongest volunteers who I found had a passion for the camping program and the ability to energize volunteers to get things done. 


I did not know much, if anything, about construction, but I did have tenacity for logistical progression. We were going to have to ask for help. We reached out to general contractors, engineers, municipal planners, and anyone who might help us sort out the mess. We re-formed our committee. When people understood our issues, they were glad to be on board. One part of the group was charged with developing a two-tiered payment approval plan so that cost overruns would be thing of the past. We resolved that a project could not begin unless we had 120% of the estimated cost for completion in the bank. Our engineers and contractors reviewed all proposals and told us what questions to ask. Last, and certainly not least, we had to prioritize our projects. We realized that with more and more government oversight, the days of us acting as general contractors were coming to an end. We decided that all our projects would be bid “turnkey”, which would make the management of the projects much easier. Often debate was heated, but we all left our meetings united. 

By the end of 2006, the new shower house was complete, two of four bunk houses were open and the other two under contract, and a new septic field was in place. The money saved on our new project management strategy covered the cost overrun of the shower house. Six months later, the two remaining bunk houses were open, our cub resident camp had a renovated kitchen, ten flush toilet facilities were opened, and 150 tent platforms were added. At the close of 2010, our additional completed projects included six additional flush toilets at cub resident camp, doubling the size of our dining hall, renovating the kitchen, adding three program pavilions and a new parking lot at Turrell, and restoring six 80-year-old log cabins at No-Be-Bo-Sco. 


We had construction of a new pole barn and staff housing at Floodwood Mountain and engaged in heavy planning stages of a huge undertaking: replacing the pit latrines at No-Be-Bo-Sco, where we were under the NJDP Pilot Program. Latrine replacement was on track to be completed by the end of 2016. 


In early 2012 I finished negotiations on an agreement for a construction easement with a value of $140,000. I was able to close the sale of the Rook Hill Property in 2013, which allowed us to resolve the Council debt and add almost one million dollars to our endowment fund. 

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