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Camp Parsons Dining Hall – Managing Design and Construction on a Tight Budget

The new dining hall was completed in nine months.

Founded in 1919 on Hood Canal near Brinnon, Washington, Camp Parsons has hosted generations of Boy Scouts and scouting activities for 94 years. As scouting and the organization has grown, the old dining facility that was built in 1937 could no longer accommodate the needs of an ever-growing population of Scouts. At 4,600 square feet, the old dining hall could only seat 350 people at a time. In 2015, the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts of America decided to demolish the old building and construct a larger, more modern facility.

On a limited budget and tight schedule, the site for the dining facility posed some challenges. Built on the side of the hill, the project team had to battle rainwater and pooling sediment on the site and prevent the water and sediment from discharging into Hood Canal. BergerABAM designed a swale to intercept the stormwater coming from the hillside into a catch basin to keep the water flow contained, then filtered it through geotechnical fabric before it could drain into the canal per Washington State Department of Ecology’s permit. In addition, a rock retaining wall was designed to incorporate the existing natural bedrock, thereby avoiding the cost of creating an entirely independent wall and creating a more natural-looking landscape that enhanced the outdoors theme of the camp and Boy Scout activities.

Despite these challenges and changes during construction, the project was done within budget and on deadline, with a new dining facility that is now 14,500 square feet, seats 576, and has a full commercial kitchen. During the off-season, the hall can be rented to groups for outdoor education programs.