The Cooper Center officially broke ground on $2.7 million in improvements to Camp Cooper.

The changes look to make the camp more environmentally friendly and give local kids more opportunities to explore our desert landscape.

Weve been waiting for this moment for so many years,” Cooper Center Director Colin Waite said.

2024 also marks the 60th year of Camp Cooper.

Renderings displayed at the groundbreaking showed the planned changes to the bathrooms and showers.

Sustainability and water conservation is top of mind for the new construction.

Weve designed composting toilets with a watershed management group here in town,” Waite said. “Well also be collecting the wastewater from the showers to grow shading vegetation.

Natural Building Works is part of the construction team. It’s a local construction group that focuses on sustainable projects.

For Raymond Clamons and Jacbob Ginsburg, being part of the project is a full circle moment as they both came to Camp Cooper as kids.

“We love coming out here, it’s just amazing to go from fifth grade to this moment right now,” Ginsburg said.

I came here when I was in third grade, and I have these memories of picking apart owl pellets,” Clamons said.

Now the renovations will make sure kids from generations to come will have memories at Camp Cooper.

Thanks mostly to generous local donors, like Peggy Goulding and her late husband Steve.

I love that were contributing to the education of environmentally responsible adults. Because the natural world needs us and we need it, too,” Goulding said.

Construction is expected to take six to seven months, but the camp will remain open during that time.