AYF facilities teams build on legacy

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Before sites are flooded with summer campers, the facilities teams at Miniwanca and Merrowvista prioritize larger structural projects that enhance the quality of life for staff and campers each year.

Senior Director of Infrastructure Andy Mulcahy said renovating Compton Lodge at Girls Camp was one of the biggest projects the Miniwanca facilities team tackled in 2023. Compton is often used to provide staff housing during the summer season and dorm-style lodging in the fall and spring for smaller community and school programs.

“This was a complete rehab to enhance the building’s accessibility, make it more efficient, and generally more comfortable for its occupants,” Mulcahy said.

Starting at the top of Compton’s exterior, the team replaced the roof with a white thermoplastic polyolefin material, which is designed to reflect summer rays away from the building and increase energy efficiency. The facilities team also replaced several windows, repaired siding and trim, and added ADA-compliant ramp access. The exterior will be fully complete this fall with exterior paint and caulking.

Inside, much of the building was stripped down to the studs for a full renovation. The team gutted and rebuilt two communal bathrooms with updated plumbing, including accessible toilets and showers. The existing kitchen was renovated to be more compact and better meet the needs of the space. Facilities also installed new wiring, LED fixtures, outlets, and a new fire alarm system throughout the building, as well as new flooring on the first floor. Mulcahy hopes to also add a nurse’s station in a still-to-be updated part of Compton.

“The building has been back in use since mid-May,” Mulcahy said. “It’s been wonderful to breathe new life back into this valuable space and welcome occupants again.”

Other recently completed projects at Miniwanca include adding riprap (a layer of large stones that protects soil from erosion in areas of high or concentrated flows) to the shoreline on both sides of the Stony Creek spillway. Siding was also replaced or repaired on the duplex cabins in 50-Bay, 60-Bay, D-Bay, and A-Bay.

At Merrowvista, the facilities team was hard at work repairing the site’s well water filtration system by late May, ensuring fresh, safe drinking water for summer campers and staff. The Merrowvista Eating Lodge also received some much-needed love in the off-season; facilities replaced the floors in the dish room, kitchen, and bathrooms.

Danforth Lodge, which is frequently used for smaller community and school programs and staff overflow housing, also saw updates and improvements this season. Its 30-year-old roof was replaced with a standing-steam metal roof.

“The new metal roof will shed snow much better than the former asphalt roof,” Mulcahy said. “It will also not be prone to fungus and grime as the other roof was.”

Danforth’s exterior also received a refresh with new paint, as well as replacing any old siding, boards, soffit, or fascia. Merrowvista also received a significant upgrade to wash day thanks to a new commercial laundry facility in the Danforth basement.

“When possible, we make every effort to upgrade and repurpose existing structures like Compton and Danforth so they can serve our Miniwanca and Merrowvista communities for decades to come,” Mulcahy said. “I’m grateful to our dedicated facilities teams for their skills and to our generous AYF community for investing in the infrastructure that supports these powerful youth programs.”