Drive in works – New headquarters

By Todd Cohen

COLFAX, N.C. — The Girl Scouts, Tarheel Triad Council, is gearing up for a $4.7 million capital campaign to finance a new headquarters campus in Colfax.

The campus — to include an administrative center, program and environmental center for girls and training center for adults — will replace a nearby facility that has been the council’s home since 1968.

The council already has raised $1.76 million in the quiet phase of the campaign, which kicks off publicly in March.

Plans for the new campus got a big boost with the council’s purchase Dec. 13 of 48 acres, including Magnolia Manor, in Colfax.

The council paid $3.25 million to buy the office building and property from Gary Brown, a board member who contributed another $850,000.

Under a four-year lease he signed with the council, Brown will continue operating GBA Systems, his software company, in Magnolia Manor and pay rent to the council.

The council, which serves more than 16,000 girls and nearly 7,000 adult volunteers in 13 counties, will develop its campus on nearly 100 acres, including the property it purchased from Brown and 46 adjacent acres it purchased for $480,000 three years ago.

The council will put up for sale three acres it owns nearby, including its 10,000-square-foot headquarters facility.

The campaign is chaired by Linda Carlisle of Greensboro, founder and former president of Copier Consultants, which was sold to Alco Standard Corp., now IKON Office Solutions in Malvern, Pa.

Honorary chair is Mary Easley, first lady of North Carolina.

Big gifts so far include at least $520,000 pledged by girl members from the sale of cookies over three years, $200,000 from the Wachovia Foundation, and pledges of more than $150,000 from other board members and $50,000 from Eunice Dudley, owner of Dudley Products, a Kernersville cosmetics company and cosmetology school.

Girl members, who each year sell more than one million boxes of cookies at $3 a box, or 100 boxes per girl on average, pledged to donate about $500,000 — 20 cents a box for cookies sold in 2000, 15 cents a box in 2001 and 10 cents a box in 2002.

Based on sales in 2000 and 2001, the scouts are on track to contribute $520,000, says Marci Brown, the council’s executive director.

Magnolia Manor, which totals 18,000 square feet, will house the council’s administrative offices plus a new program center for girls and a training center for adults.

The program center, featuring classrooms and a technology center, will be combined with a new environmental center, both offering indoor and outdoor activities such as science and computer labs and hiking and mountain biking trails.

The council plans to move into its new campus in January 2006.

Magnolia Manor will continue to host catered meetings in its banquet room, Brown says.

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