LAKE WYLIE -- A new Camp Thunderbird feature several years and $1 million in the making is expected to be ready in early June, just in time for campers.
The Duke Energy Pavilion, an open-air pavilion within easy eyesight of Lake Wylie, is currently under construction on camp property. The project began with a $1 million donation from Duke Energy in November 2006, primarily to be used for the lakeview center.
"This is the greatest improvement to Camp Thunderbird since we opened the dining hall in the early '80s," said Andy Kane, vice president of camping services.
Located at the center of camp and overlooking the main cove used for canoeing and other lake activities, the 10,000-square-foot facility will provide additional meeting space for campers during peak times, especially during the summer.
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"We hope it will be open for the first week of camp this summer," said John Austin, executive director of camping services. Resident camp begins June 7, day camp the following day.
Kane said the facility will have multiple uses, including space for basketball, volleyball and rollerhockey, as well as include a stage for performances, meeting space and restrooms.
"One of the only things we don't have here is a place for the campers to play or spend time that's really nice when it's raining," he said.
The facility also could be used on the hottest days to keep campers out of the sun, something more parents have voiced concerned about.
"In the summer evenings, it's just a great place to be," Austin said. "It will be a place people can gather and just enjoy their surroundings."
A 16-foot fan will help keep the wood-trussed building cool. Activities for summer and week-long camps will be held there, as well as afterschool camp during the school year. The layout of the "gathering place" is well-suited for evening programs, dances and skits, Kane said.
The northbound view crossing Buster Boyd Bridge into South Carolina will show the center as "a prominent feature" of camp, Kane said.The pavilion, like other camp buildings, also will be available for civic use.
Several churches, the Lake Wylie Marine Commission and York County are a few groups that use or have used camp property for past meetings.
"As long as a community group books it with us in advance, we work with a lot of groups that are flexible," Kane said.
For more information, visit campthunderbird.org.