COLUMBIA – The Columbia Convention and Visitors Advisory Board met Monday and heard a presentation from the Boy Scouts of America Great Rivers Council’s development director.

The Scouts are applying for the visitor bureau’s “Attraction Development Fund” as they prepare for the launch of their Scouting Adventure Center.

The Boy Scouts of America Great Rivers Council moved into their new space. The 13,000-square-foot building on West Van Horn Tavern Road was formerly the call-and-contact center for MidwayUSA.

Larry and Brenda Potterfield, owners of MidwayUSA, donated their space to the Scouts to build their Adventure Center.

Greg Baker, the development director for the Great Rivers Council, said the space’s purpose focuses on fun and learning.

“We’re going to have modular areas…within the Scouting Adventure Center in which we can pull out and host different things,” Baker said.

Some examples of the different arenas include:

1. Health and Safety Arena:

  • Emergency Preparedness 
  • Fire Safety 
  • First Aid
  • Medicine 
  • Personal Fitness
  • Public Health 
  • Safety
  • Search and Rescue 
  • Traffic Safety 
  • Veterinary Medicine 

2. Audio/Visual/Design Studio

  • Animation 
  • Communication 
  • Graphic Arts
  • Movie-making
  • Photography 

3. Science and Nature Lab:

  • Animal Science
  • Astronomy 
  • Chemistry 
  • Composite Materials 
  • Energy 
  • Forestry 
  • Fish and Wildlife Management 
  • Nature 
  • Nuclear Science 
  • Oceanography 
  • Physics 
  • Plant Science 
  • Soil and Water Conservation 
  • Sustainability 

4. Engineering and Programming Arena:

  • Drafting 
  • Electronics 
  • Engineering 
  • Pioneering 
  • Programming 
  • Robotic 
  • Space Exploration
  • Surveying

The facility will also include a rock climbing wall, which is expected to be completed in December.  

The Great Rivers Council is applying for the Attraction Development Fund, a set of funds used to attract different types of businesses or organizations benefiting tourism in order to make a positive impact on the city’s economy.

“We utilize those funds to be able to sponsor and fund those types of projects,” Aric Jarvis, Columbia Visitors Bureau’s Advisory Board Chair, said.

The application the bureau received shows that the Great Rivers Council is seeking $25,000 in funding.

“Ideally, anything that attracts people to the city of Columbia, and brings them here for shopping in our shopping centers, or eating downtown or in the city of Columbia, or just staying in hotel nights, is going to impact our tourism here in Columbia,” Jarvis said.

Jarvis added remarks regarding the likelihood that the Great Rivers Council receiving the funding.

“Based on the application that I’ve seen so far, I do believe that this could potentially be a positive driver for the economy and tourism in Columbia,” Jarvis said.

The goal for the Scouts is to show the bureau how the Scouting Adventure Center will help the City’s economy and tourism.  

“What we’re really excited about is the number of scouts and scout volunteers who will travel across our state from other states to come here to experience the Scouting Adventure Center,” Baker said.

The Visitor’s Bureau is considering the Scout’s application. 

The entire project, including the building, is anticipated to cost about $5.2 million. 

If approved, the entire space is expected to be completed by May 2023.

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