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Dave Olson, Published November 19 2010

Boy Scouts plan new center in south Fargo

The Northern Lights Council of the Boy Scouts of America is telling the public to be prepared: A new center for Scouting will soon be going up in Fargo.

The $4 million, 14,000-square-foot center will include training space for the council’s 4,000 leadership volunteers, and a store offering Scouting uniforms and supplies.

“It (the project) tells the community Scouting is alive and well and doing great, so consider it for your sons and daughters,” said Doug Restemayer, president of the Northern Lights Council and an organizer of a capital campaign aimed at raising funds needed for the new center.

Major donors have so far pledged or given $2.8 million toward the effort.

For the remainder of what is needed, the council is asking businesses, Scouting alumni and individual Scout troops and packs to pitch in.

Spring start

Organizers hope to break ground for the project by May and expect construction to take about a year.

The Northern Lights Council, which covers all of North Dakota and parts of Montana, South Dakota and northwest Minnesota, serves about 15,000 youths.

The Scout population in the region has remained stable in recent years, said Mark Holtz, Scout Executive and CEO of the North Lights Council.

The organization’s current building at 301 7th St. S. in Fargo was built in 1966 for the Red River Valley Council.

In 1974, the four Scouts councils in North Dakota and parts of Minnesota combined to form the Northern Lights Council, which continued to make its home at 301 7th St. S.

At 3,300 square feet, that facility’s space is only a tad larger than the main conference room planned for the new center, which will be built on 5 acres at 42nd Street and 19th Avenue South.

Plans include an outdoor flag plaza that will provide a perfect spot for courts of honor and other Scouting ceremonies, Restemayer said.

An outdoor amphitheater/fire pit is also possible.

The center will include a retail Scout Store that will be stocked and run by the national Scouting organization.

“The Scout catalog will come alive for all of our Scouts,” Holtz said.

Anniversary present

“This is the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts, and we just really believe, as we launch into our second century, that this facility will serve the needs of our Scouts and of the community,” Holtz said.

The capital campaign’s lead gift was a donation from Jon and Lori Wanzek.

The new regional headquarters for Scouting will be named the Jon L. Wanzek Center for Scouting. Jon Wanzek is an Eagle Scout and a Fargo business leader.

About a half dozen other individuals or companies provided major contributions toward the $2.8 million raised so far, Holtz said.

A main feature of the new center will be its large conference room/training center, something the current headquarters doesn’t have.

“Now,” Restemayer said, “we’ll have one central place where we can provide all of this training. We’ll also open up our conference room to the community.”

How to give

Those interested in donating to help make the new Scouting center planned for Fargo happen can contact the Northern Lights Council of the Boy Scouts of America at (701) 293-5011, or e-mail the office at fargo@nlcbsa.org.

Organizers of the fund drive have scheduled a news conference for 3:45 p.m. today at the location of the planned Scouting center at 42nd Street and 19th Avenue South in Fargo, across the street from the Schlossman YMCA facility.

Who has pledged

The Northern Lights Council of the Boy Scouts of America has secured pledges and donations totaling $2.8 million toward its goal of raising

$4 million to build a new Scouting center in Fargo.

Major donors so far include:


Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555