A Welcome Addition

Oct. 2, 2009

Facilities combine the contemporary needs of a medical facility and youth staff members with the mystique of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains


Health Lodge and Silver Sage Staff Activity Center, Philmont Scout Ranch, Cimarron, NM

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How do you build where the antelope – and elk, deer, bears, and the red fox – roam? In 2007, the Boy Scouts of America figured it out when they selected the location, funded, and designed a new Health Lodge and the Silver Sage Staff Activity Center at Philmont Scout Ranch.

Visual impact and juxtaposition with the environment were pivotal to the design and placement of the structures, with a desire to protect and take advantage of the natural view. The activity center needed:

  • A computer and wireless network access.
  • A large covered gathering space that could serve as a venue for campfires.
  • An interior gathering area.
  • A snack bar.
  • TV viewing rooms that double as training spaces.

The completed, state-of-the-art complex is equipped with a huge flat-screen TV, a comfy lounge area, Internet connectivity, modern meeting rooms, and a covered common area for cookouts, church services, and campfires during inclement weather. The massive fireplace incorporates stones brought down from Baldy Mountain. The building is framed by long, sweeping porches to provide shade at midday and shelter from the rain. The Silver Sage Staff Activity Center formally opened on Aug. 16, 2008.

Project Team (partial list)

Owner (Award Submitter): Boy Scouts of America
Design Builder: Avis Construction Inc.
Architect: Rick Bennett Architects

The Health Lodge had several goals: to be a first-rate medical facility, a medical and teaching facility, and easy to maintain and clean. As a result, it’s located at the heart of the camp, with easy access to major roads. The building matches the style, colors, and finishes of the other buildings.

Energy-efficient construction is augmented by the building’s orientation, fenestration, and adjacent trees. Programmable thermostats, timers, and other mechanical system features add to the comfort and control of the environment, and make sure that the proper pressures and ventilation of rooms and corridors are maintained.

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