LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. - When seven State Fair Community College graduates pick up their diplomas this week, it will be another symbol of a job they completed together.
The students are part of a larger group that earned 1,000 hours of college credit as they pieced back together the historic Camp Pin Oak dining lodge in Lake of the Ozarks State Park.
The lodge, built by workers with President Franklin Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, was on the National Register of Historic Places. It burned to the ground after being struck by lightning in the early morning hours of Sept. 3, 2010.
In early 2011, Nixon announced the building would be rebuilt to historic accuracy and the work would be done as part of the curriculum at SFCC. The work was funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
Three of the students who originally began the project have already graduated; the remaining seven will receive an associate's degree from SFCC during graduation ceremonies Friday.
Much of the work was done by hand so the builders could make sure that each detail of the new building matched the original structure as closely as possible.
All original materials that could be salvaged from the fire were used while the remainder of the structure was rebuilt with period lumber and fixtures whenever possible. For instance, the hardwood flooring is actually lumber salvaged from a 100-year-old barn, and the stone used to rebuild the two fireplaces came from the same quarry as the original.
In some cases, updated material and building practices were used for safety purposes, said Bill Arnold, Lake of the Ozarks State Park director. For instance, the entire structure has been insulated and a central heating and cooling system installed. The kitchen will be updated with modern cooking appliances, and refrigeration and freezer units will be installed. Modern plumbing fixtures are also being used, and the entire structure has been modified to meet federal standards for wheelchair accessibility.
The outside of the structure looks almost exactly like the original, but modern building materials and techniques were used whenever possible. The ceiling of the dining hall has an open-beamed appearance and the roof has been shingled with products that closely resemble the originals. But in between the two surfaces, materials that meet today's standards for wind and fire protection were used.
Arnold said no opening date for the rebuilt lodge has been scheduled because the Missouri Division of State Parks is seeking bids on the installation of kitchen appliances. And, state park personnel will landscape the area after the construction equipment has been removed. Engineers and designers with the Division of State Parks supervised the project and personnel with Lake of the Ozarks State Park refurbished a number of other structures at the Camp Pin Oak site.