Walls of new Dewey lodge go up

SARANAC LAKE – Construction is under way on the new base lodge at Dewey Mountain Recreation Center.

Harvest Homes of the Albany area delivered prefabicated walls for the building Thursday, and Scheefer’s Adirondack Builders of Saranac Lake began putting them together.

“This is just an amazing moment, knowing that 550 different households and businesses and people have all contributed something, making sure that this gets done,” said Mary Thill, a Dewey Mountain Friends board member. “And now to actually see the building and be able to envision what it’s going to be like when it’s open, it feels good.”

Dewey Mountain Friends raised more than $350,000 in recent years for the new base lodge. Overall, 550 households and businesses contributed to the campaign for the facility that now offers year-round activities. Its staple is cross-country skiing, but users also snowshoe, hike and mountain bike on the trails.

“This will be a great place to hang out during summer and winter, for skiing and mountain biking, and I’m sure this will be nice,” 9-year-old Galen Halasz said as he watched the walls go up. “It will be great, and we’ve got like $5 million, so it’s going to be well furnished.”

The $5 million figure was an exaggeration but showed the boy’s enthusiasm.

Tom Boothe, Dewey Mountain Friends board member and project manager for the base lodge, said he expected most of the walls to be up on both the base lodge and an adjoining garage by the end of the day. Then, there is a lot of interior work to be done, such as installing plumbing, electrical wiring and other necessities.

“It’ll definitely be done for the ski season, but I bet it’s November before you can walk in and say it’s done,” Boothe said.

There was a small group of people watching the walls go up Thursday morning that included kids, Dewey Mountain Friends board members, coaches and even Olympic biathlete Annelies Cook.

John Banta, a board member with the Saranac Lake Rotary Foundation, was also there. His organization is the nonprofit sponsor of the project.

“From Rotary’s point of view, you couldn’t find a better partner than the town of Harrietstown,” Banta said. “This is all goes back four years when we sat down and worked out a memorandum of understanding and said this is the game plan. The town has been there right along, and they’ve been steady – excellent partners in the whole process.”

The town of Harrietstown owns the property, and it is managed by Adirondack Lakes and Trails Outfitters.

Boothe said that in addition to the financial donations, Dewey is also getting some in-kind services from businesses working on the project. For instance, Jan Kibben, a Saranac Lake-based construction manager, is overseeing the project as a volunteer.

Dewey Mountain Friends is asking anyone who wants to help out with tasks as a volunteer over the next two months to contact Chrissy Hayden at cfordhayden@gmail.com. People are needed for tasks such as staining and helping construction crews with side labor.