Representatives from the Southern Florida District of Church of Nazarene, county and local officials converged on the Lake Placid Camp and Conference Center Wednesday for the official groundbreaking of Grace Place and a new addition to the dining center.
Grace Place is a 152-bed dormitory that will be able to be divided into small pods for small groups, or a 152-bed dorm, said Anthony Haney, Lake Placid Camp and Conference Center executive director.
Haney went on to say that there are going to be two wings on the building, each one making up a 300-seat, multi-purpose auditorium.
The original dream may have started in 1926, when Melville Dewey and his wife built the southern version of the Lake Placid Club, said Dr. Dennis Moore, Southern Florida District Advisory Board secretary. The club was to attract the brightest and best young people to advance new ideas and that would impact people.
Moore went on to say that in the year just ending, revenue for the center approached $1.9 million, with 43,000 guests. Out of the 43,000, he said, more than 4,000 young people found Jesus Christ as their savior, which he related back to Melville Deweys dream.
Grace Place was a result of a grant from Dr. Fred Bertolet and his wife, Grace, who led revivals all over the America. Shortly before his death, Bertolet bequeathed nearly $1 million to the Southern Florida District with the simple wish that an appropriate building be build to honor his late wife.
The added dormitory space will augment the mission of the Center.
The mission statement was to establish a base of godliness, Haney said. The vision statement that came of that was serving Jesus Christ by serving others. This summer, there will be approximately 40,000 visitors to the Lake Placid Camp and Conference Center. There will be about 8,000-9,000 youth and children for summer camps.
Not only is the camp open for the campers, the facility is open to the public. Corporate events are available as are lunches and catering on and off campus. Haney estimates that the visitors will infuse approximately $3 million in revenue throughout Highlands County.
There was also a groundbreaking ceremony for a dining area patio that will seat 200-250. The addition will blend in with the existing building, and will look like it has always been there.
Haney estimated that this project will not begin until the fall because of the number of visitors that are expected during the summer.
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