Properties Highlight – Let’s Do Better – Part 6


By Dave Cornell, BSA Architect

This is a continuing series of articles on various aspects of the properties we own, lease, care for, and look to make better.  As we all know, the program of Scouting is valuable to the growth of youth in this country and around the world.  Where we deliver that program needs to convey that value and the coming articles are intended to assist us all in making that conveyance to our current users, as well as all of our future users and their families.

In the previous article in this series, the recommended floor plan for restroom facilities was introduced along with some of the reasons why we’ve evolved to this design.  In this article we’ll explore in more detail recommendations by which your facility will present to our users better. 

As you look at this design, first off, you’ll notice a porch space around the entire structure.  Why do this?  Several reasons.  Provide shelter in case of weather that comes up quickly and you can’t get to your campsite quick enough.  With a hard roof over your head one may elect to park here versus the tent one is living in for the time in camp.  The dashed line on this plan shows this to be a gable end style roof, which means there are only two roof planes.  This would also translate to two drip lines around the building which would also indicate addressing where the water falls off the roof and what to do there.  We’ll cover that in a future article about drainage around our structures which we are not very good at quite frankly.  The porch also protects the doors to the compartments.  This allows for low lighting at night to assist people in traversing here in the middle of the night.  Additionally, solar panels can be mounted on the larger roof area to help offset the power requirements of this building as well as neighboring structures.  Drinking fountains, charging stations, vending machines and other conveniences and essentials can be located outside of the compartments.  So, several advantages come into play with the larger porch space.  The size shown can be adjusted as well.  The beauty of this design is its adaptability to various sites and what loading in the camp proper is planned for.  Very versatile! 

Second, you encounter a plumbing chase.  This is a critical component of this design as it centralizes all the plumbing into one easily accessible space.  The plumber only has to access this chase and is able to service all of the fixtures for the building.  This also minimizes vandalism by our users and if you think that doesn’t happen talk to a few of our Rangers and hear the prevalence of said behavior.  Another reason how this design came about!  This also makes it very easy to weatherize the building for the off-season.  Additionally, as ventilation was mentioned in the last article a ventilation system for the entire building can be mounted in the chase and pull air through all the compartments and exhaust that moist air out of the structure.  This is another critical component of making this building work well and prolong the life of the structure. 

The compartmentalized solution has been developed for a couple of the reasons as pointed out in the verbiage above.  It should also be noted how this design addresses youth protection.  No longer is it necessary for campers to adhere to a schedule of when the restroom is either for females or males and either youth or adult.  With compartments all can access one at any time.  All one’s business can be done at one time.  We’ve also designed shower buildings with some compartments with just toilets and lavatories/sinks.  That way a camper who just needs a restroom doesn’t occupy a compartment with a shower.  We also noted in the last article how we have a solution for program areas that has no housing, thus no shower requirement. 

Here are a couple of illustrations for wood wall construction.  One is an interior wall and the other is an exterior version.  Note the interior version has two options shown.  This allows for differing installations.  In either case one would adhere either green board or a backer board material to the wood studs that frame the wall.  This would be after rough plumbing was installed of course.  Option 2 shows wire mesh being used which provides more adhesion as green board is typically smoother than backer board is.  Then, thin setting tile over this provides the space a finished look that is easy to clean, sanitize, and maintain for many years. 

The exterior version shows similar installation to the interior but make note of a larger stud being used (2×6) to allow for more insulation in the wall.  In both interior and exterior versions there’s shown the use of silicone where the tile meets the floor.  Using silicone should minimize water seeping under that joint to the interior of the wall which would cause rot and mold to form.  Couple of issues we’re trying to avoid. 

In these illustrations, virtually the same type of installation occurs, but the wall is now constructed using either masonry block, or poured-in-place concrete, or pre-cast concrete panels assembled to form the wall structure of the facility.  Note again in the interior wall version there are two options.  Option 1 is to just paint the block/concrete, but you must use a paint that will seal the surface to keep the block/concrete as dry as possible.  Again, minimizing moisture is the whole deal here!  This works well more with block as its surface is rougher.  Thick coats of an acrylic paint to fill all of the pockets in the block surface is ideal.  There are other coatings available which can be used as well, so you definitely want to do your research on what’s best to use in your area.  The northern latitudes present more issues to be wary of and address with the appropriate material. 

In each of the illustrations you’ll note that some use more material than others.  That’s not to say that more is better.  Just know you have options and that’s typically better than just one.  See what’s in your area.  See what the trades people use but be cautious of that old saying, “it’s what we’ve always used, and it works OK.”  That may be easier and less expensive in the front end, but when I’ve got to address this several times over the next five to ten years, maybe that’s not so good to use.  Do your homework and use what will last longer than 10 years would be a good rule of thumb.  Another reason why we’ve gravitated to metal roofs, Hardi siding materials, rock wainscots on buildings among others.  To be more sustainable, provide us more thoughtful stewardship, and to be more conservation minded in how we go about improving our facilities. 

By using materials that require little to no maintenance we construct buildings that last longer and cost us less over their life.  This addresses sustainability as we don’t have to bring more materials from wherever they are sourced and then manufactured as well as not having to replace what we originally built the building with in the first place.  Consider all of our structures with T1-11 as a siding on them now.  As an exterior used product this does not perform well!  Depending on your location you may be required to replace this three, four, or five times versus if we’d used a more durable material in the first place, we would save that cost and labor over 30, 40, or 50 years. 

Its that type of thinking whereby the stewardship of our facilities is better addressed as well.  We can honestly look at each other across the Boardroom and say we are better fiduciary stewards of the council’s harder-to-gather capital than have ever been previously!  And from that may come better community support and even increased membership.  Wins we can definitely use! 

When you look up the definition of conservation, the first note states, “prevention of wasteful use of a resource.”  Synonyms of note would be – economy – thrift – frugality – saving – budgeting – and sparingness.  As you can see these three items are very much related to one another and certainly help each other in the performance of improvements we make in our camp properties. 

See you next issue! 

Dave Cornell


Sep ’21

The Outdoor Programs / Properties Team is ready to assist and guide in any respect to making the program of Scouting the best youth program!  Reach out to any member of the team and we’ll endeavor to provide quality answers to any issue you may have and/or facing.  We look forward to working together to make the program the best ever!