- Associated Press - Sunday, July 19, 2020

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina State University’s Camp Harry E. Daniels was once a hub of activity, hosting 4-H campers, family reunions and corporate meetings.

It was closed 16 years ago, but new life has been breathed into the camp through a total revitalization effort.

Thanks to a $3.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the university has constructed a new 1890 Research and Extension Center on the site.

The facility is nearing its opening with a ribbon-cutting targeted for the end of July.

Camp Harry Daniels is a 267-acre piece of property east of Elloree and within a stone’s throw of Lake Marion.

The site’s 15,000-square-foot center includes research laboratories, a nutrition lab, training rooms, a community multipurpose meeting space, classrooms and a technology room equipped to deal with the latest technology like multimedia conferencing.

The building will house programs such as Small Farm, Agricultural and Natural Resources, Adult and Community Leadership, Family Life and Nutrition, 4-H and Youth Development and Community Education.

Columbia-based Tyler Construction Group was the general contractor for the project.

The site has internet access and Wi-Fi capabilities, as well as access to municipal water from Elloree.

In addition to the new 1890 center, federal grants also helped pay for the renovation of the existing 10,000-square-foot conference center at the site.

The conference center has a large meeting area, dining facilities, a commercial kitchen and offices. It has been periodically used for various events, but the hope is that the fully operational center will regularly be a host site for corporate events and board retreats.

The 16 cabins, which can serve as lodging for those who use the camp, will also be updated and renovated.

The property also has a lake that can be used for recreational purposes such as fishing. Recreational facilities such as basketball courts are also going to be upgraded. There are plans to have a facility detailing the history of the camp.

The property was initially purchased by the community through fundraising efforts and deeded to the university. This has enabled the university to use 1890 funds to help with its upkeep.

Camp Harry Daniels, which opened in 1947, was discontinued as a 4-H camp in 1994 due in part to the poor condition of the cabins that were built in the 1940s.

In 2004, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control shut down the entire facility, including the conference center and its 16 cabins, because of water problems.

That problem was resolved in 2009 when a $320,000 federal grant paid to connect the camp to the Elloree water system.

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