The cabin renovation project at Rock Eagle 4-H Center got a significant push forward when Gov. Nathan Deal approved a $7.5 million earmark in the state’s 2014 budget for replacement cabins at the Eatonton camp.
“Seventeen new cabins will be constructed over the next two years thanks to funds appropriated for the project in the newly approved state budget,” said Arch Smith, Georgia 4-H’s state leader.
The replacement cost for cabins at Rock Eagle is $500,000. This includes the cost of demolishing the existing cabin, adding new furnishings, site work, landscaping and utility relocation.
Nine new cabins are ready for campers
The 4-H center has nine new cabins completed, two under construction and will begin construction on five more later this summer.
The original cabins at the historic 4-H camp had two dormitory-style bedrooms that accommodated eight people on four bunk beds. In order to preserve history, three of the original cabins at Rock Eagle are being maintained. One cabin will be restored to the 1950s style to be a museum.
The new cabins can accommodate 22 people in six bedrooms, each with a private bath. One of the bedrooms has two single beds and is designed as the adult chaperone room. The new design also includes a large common area, wireless Internet access and four vanity areas in each bedroom.
Funding has come from private industry and individuals, too
Rock Eagle’s first prototype cabin was completed in 2006. The second, the Georgia Development Authority Cabin, honors longtime Georgia Agricultural Commissioner Tommy Irvin. The third is the Kroger Customers Cabin and the fourth is the Georgia Electric Membership Corporation Cabin. The Andrews Family Foundation, Suntrust, the Georgia 4-H Camp Counselor Alumni and many other individuals have donated additional funding.
"Replacing the cabins at Rock Eagle is not an easy task," Smith said. "We have a little over 60 percent of the funding we need for 54 new cabins. I hope to see the new cabin project completed by 2017 or 2018 when I retire.”
Each summer more than 5,400 4-H’ers spend a week camping at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center. The center houses an additional 50,000 youths and adults throughout the year for environmental education field studies, workshops, conferences and other meetings.
Georgia 4-H continues to seek private funding to complete the cabin replacement project. To contribute to the Rock Eagle 4-H Center Cabin Campaign, contact the Georgia 4-H Foundation Office at (706) 542-8914. Cabin-naming opportunities are also available.
(Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)