JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. -- The 50-year-old pool at Buffalo Mountain Camp that is sealed in the memories of hundreds of campers will soon be replaced by a modern pool more than three times larger.
A $400,000 campaign to build a pool complex with a bathhouse and pavilion is ongoing. However, churches and individuals have contributed enough funds to complete a new pool in time for the first campers arriving June 5, according to Camp Director Jason Onks.
"This is going to be so exciting for us and the campers," Onks said. "No longer will we be stuck with the stigma of the 'cold creek pool,' because the old pool leaked so much [8,000 gallons per day] we had to put creek water in it. Our well could not keep up with the leak and still serve the rest of camp."
The new pool, currently under construction, will be located near the camp director's residence and will measure 56 by 40 feet. The old pool measured 40 by 15 feet, not much larger than a residential pool.
"In other words, we will go from 600 square feet to 2,240 square feet," Onks said.
The new pool will also also feature a salt-water system that will accommodate campers with chlorine allergies, he said.
Donations from Munsey Memorial UMC, First Broad Street UMC, Kingsport District, and individuals allowed Buffalo Mountain Camp to begin construction and finish the pool in time for summer camp season. Additional donations will enable construction on the bath house and pavilion to follow, according to the Rev. Charles Maynard, director of development for Holston Conference Camp and Retreat Ministries.
The pavilion will measure 30 feet by 40 feet, giving campers a place for activities like "Dancing With Nancy." The new complex will also expand Buffalo Mountain services beyond the summer program, Onks said.
"With the old pool we could only operate from June through July. We will now be able to have the pool open from the middle of May to Labor Day."
The 50-year-old pool will later be filled with dirt so the site can be used for a new multi-use dining hall facility, Maynard said.
However, the pool will live on in the memories and stories of campers who have come and gone.
"There are people who remember when the old pool was just a hole with tar paper lining," Maynard said. "Before that, they just dammed up the creek to go swimming."
To contribute to the campaign to help Buffalo Mountain complete its pool complex, contact CharlesMaynard@holston.org.