The chief executive officer of the Indianapolis-based Crossroads of America Council, BSA says $7 million in planned facilities at Camp Belzer in Indianapolis are the anchor points to the organization’s long-range facility planning at the 200-acre campus. The council broke ground today on the Skip & Alex Lange Innovation Center and a new maintenance facility. Joe Wiltrout says, when complete, the innovation center will feature STEM labs and a makerspace, as well as rock walls and indoor archery and BB shooting ranges.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Wiltrout said the innovation center fits into a larger, overall effort at Camp Belzer.
“We’re also launching what we’re calling our market entity into the community and that’s Crossroads Outfitters,” said Wiltrout. “We want to be able to transform and be innovative and move with families’ needs and the community’s needs. So we are using the innovation center as a key point to launch all kinds of different activities, all kinds of different needs that our communities will encompass. But more importantly and probably the biggest thing is to become a curriculum partner with our school systems and to become a field trip destination location for our educational partners.”
The 9,400-square-foot innovation center will be located inside the current fieldhouse at Camp Belzer, which is currently being used as a maintenance facility. The CAC says the new maintenance facility will free up space inside the fieldhouse to add all of the amenities offered by the innovation center, which also include event space for rent.
Wiltrout says the organization has a great working relationship with its educational partners, but hopes the innovation center will help take those relationships to the next level.
“(We want) to see how we can meet their curriculum needs within the state statutes and be a collaborative partner in educating our young people so that they can be productive citizens in our communities,” said Wiltrout.
Wiltrout adds the Crossroads Outfitters effort aims to provide a variety of services to residents in a “non-scout manner.”
“We want to make sure we really have a one-stop shop for outdoor education, outdoor needs where you don’t necessarily have to be a member of the Boy Scouts of America and really come in and taste, experience what scouting has to offer.”
Work has begun on construction for the maintenance facility, which is expected to be complete in late April. The organization will spend a couple of months to transition everything from the fieldhouse to the new facility. Construction will then begin on the innovation center, which is anticipated to go online in the first quarter of 2023.
Wiltrout says the innovation center fits into a larger, overall effort at Camp Belzer.