Camp Pin Oak’s dining lodge is slowly rising from the ashes of a massive fire that destroyed the iconic camping lodge at Lake of the Ozarks State Park more than two years ago.
A ribbon cutting is tentatively scheduled in April.
The lodge, built more than 70 years ago, burned to the ground Sept. 3, 2010, after being struck by lightning. A week later, Gov. Jay Nixon pledged resources to rebuild the 3,800-square foot structure.
Joining in the partnership is the State Fair Community College construction class, which provided 16 students who are earning about 1,000 hours of hands-on experience and up to 40 college credit hours toward an Associate of Applied Science degree in construction.
A state architect was used to design the rebuild as closely to the original as possible. The massive chimneys were all that was left standing after the fire, and the hope was to build the new structure with the chimneys intact. Because of their damaged condition, they could not be used but each stone was carefully measured so new stones could be duplicated. Most of the exterior fireplace stones were left in tact.
“The fireplaces are the cornerstone pieces to the lodge, and we wanted to keep everything as authentic as possible,” Kevin Haulotte, project manager and computer aided drafting coordinator at SFCC, said.
SFCC is working with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Division of State Parks Division to rebuild the lodge. Faculty in the college’s Construction Technology Program are overseeing the construction project. The Missouri Department of Economic Development authorized a Community Development Block Grant of $1.4 million to fund the project.
In December 2011, SFCC students began the one-of-a-kind opportunity to rebuild the historic dining lodge that for seven decades served families, youth and others as they enjoyed the Lake of the Ozarks.
“It’s been an awesome experience for the kids,” noted Haulotte. “It’s unique because the original lodge was build by WPA workers who were younger, probably in their 30s, and now youth are involved in rebuilding it.”
The reconstruction was scheduled to take about a year, but startup delays pushed the timeframe to about 2½ years.
But a lot has changed. The building may look virtually identical to the original, yet high-tech computers and tools were used, stricter building codes were followed and the building is a lot “cleaner” from an environmental perspective.
The original lodge featured a stone foundation, large stone fireplaces, a rustic front porch and light fixtures with oak leaf motif. Architects were able to glean much of the original appearance from photos, and incorporated that into the rebuilt facility. Replacing the pinewood floor has been one of the challenges. The original floor was cut from long leaf heart pine, and reclaimed long leaf heart pine cut from trees 150 years ago was secured for the new floor.
In sifting through the post-fire rubble, some remnants were discovered including burned silverware. These and other items will be displayed in a kiosk in the lodge.
“We’re certainly hopeful that we’ll be able to do more projects like this one because it’s the best way to teach young people construction management,” Haulotte said. “We’ve enjoyed it quite a bit.”
Qualified instructors, most of whom have business and construction industry backgrounds, have been involved in teaching the students and actual construction. These include:
Kevin Haulotte, project manager; Keith Haulotte, project supervisor; David Bechtold, building trades instructor at Camdenton School District; Doug Needy, excavation; Andrew Treuner, masonry; Mike Henson, plumbing; Nathan Bragg, electrical; Richard Vanderwede, carpentry and concrete; Robert Foster, plumbing; Allen Goforth, HVAC; James Faber, saw mill; and Melody Sablan, grant and contract administrator.
An public announcement will be made regarding the ribbon cutting.