CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The name of West Virginia’s first Boy Scout will now greet all of the future scouts who make the Mountain State’s Capital City either a destination or a pit stop on their travels.
Just more than a year after a groundbreaking ceremony for the $4.1 million facility, the new H. Bernard Wehrle, Sr. Scout Leadership Service Center, located off Interstate 64 in Charleston, was officially dedicated during a Thursday ceremony.
Wehrle became a Boy Scout on May 10, 1911.
“He attributed a lot of his success in life to being a Boy Scout,” said Jeff Purdy, scout executive. “He was orphaned at age 11, became a Boy Scout at age 12 and went on to co-found a company that’s now MRC Global, a Fortune 500 company.”
One of Werhle’s sons, Bernard Wehrle, Jr., cut the “rope” on the new facility as other Werhle family members, additional donors, scouts and their families, community leaders and other attendees looked on under blue skies in Charleston.
Steve Werhle, a grandson of Wehrle, Sr., said the facility sets up the Buckskin Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which serves scouts in 32 counties in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Virginia, for the future.
“This is not just a beautiful building and site, but they have improved their ability to deliver their mission and vision to the Boy Scouts with more programs and opportunities,” Steve Werhle said.
In addition to serving as the headquarters for the Buckskin Council and housing administrative offices, the Scout Leadership Service Center is designed as a “gateway” to the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in Fayette County.
The Summit Bechtel Reserve will host the National Scout Jamboree next July and the World Scout Jamboree in 2019.
“A lot of the scouts and leaders traveling to the Summit will stop by our local Boy Scout Council on the way there and now they’re going to have an impression of West Virginia Scouting that’s going to be awesome,” Purdy said.
With about 14,000 square feet, the new center has space for large meetings, conferences, volunteer trainings and program coordination along with overnight camping along the Kanawha River.
Already, Scout troops from Indiana and Illinois have stayed at the facility en route to Fayette County.
Fundraising continues for the project. Approximately $400,000 is needed to completely fund the project along with $2.7 million for the endowment.
Dave Pray headed up the design build team of Mark Grigsby, Pray Construction and Aric Margolis, architect, to complete the project.
“All I can think about when I look at this building are all of the young people that are going to be walking through these doors, learning about their country, learning about their environment, learning about how to educate,” said U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).
“It’s a great facility,” Purdy agreed. “It’s going to serve scouting for many decades.”