The fireplace and chimney are crumbling at the old Scout Hut on the grounds of Saticoy Elementary School. The foundation of the creaking, one-room building isn’t what it used to be either.
Soon, school officials say, a bulldozer will arrive--and the hall in Saticoy where Boy Scout troops have gathered for more than half a century will become just a memory to hundreds of Ventura County Scouts and one-time Scouts.
The building--it has no formal name but was designated the “Scout Hut” on a map as long ago as 1938--has been deemed an earthquake hazard by state inspectors. And, since the Ventura Unified School District considers it too far gone to be restored, it is to be torn down and replaced by a child-care center.
Amid regrets about the impending demise, some Scout leaders have expressed resentment over the way the Scout Hut’s fate has been handled by school district officials.
“After using the Hut as our headquarters for 20 years, our boys have come to look upon it as their private place,” said Steve Garrett, scoutmaster of 18-member Troop 143 of east Ventura, the last remaining Scout troop holding weekly meetings there.
“The walls are filled with our plaques and photos. Most of our equipment is stored there. If it’s unsafe, we certainly don’t want to continue meeting there. But I’d have thought the school board would have asked for our input before deciding to tear it down.”
Gary Mortimer, the school district’s director of facilities, said the school board has merely asked for bids to demolish the hut. “There will be a public hearing, very likely at the school site, before a final decision is made,” he said.
Mortimer said there is little if any chance that the Scout Hut will be saved. “The place is definitely hazardous,” he said. “That old brick chimney could fall down anytime and hurt somebody.”
Garrett said Troop 143 will move its meetings to a community center in the basement of nearby Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
Nancy Bradford, Saticoy’s principal, agreed that the Scout Hut must come down.
“The Boy Scouts and an Alcoholics Anonymous group are the only ones who use it now,” she said. “We’re not supposed to let our students go near the place. It’s that unsafe.”