Published in The Asbury Park Press on September 2, 2004 by Dan Kaplan

Page A1, cont. A2


WALL – Visions of an expansive science and history learning center at
Camp Evans, a former military radar research facility, edged one step
closer to fruition after the Army transferred roughly half of the camp’s historic district to the township at no cost last week .
     The township, in turn, plans to provide former science teacher Fred Carl, 50, with the property at a nominal fee — probably a $1-a-year lease, Township Administrator Joseph Verruni said. That stake, Carl said, will allow him to apply for grants to fund the learning center .

The historic district, made up of 37 acres and 140,000 square feet of building space, is the most valuable
parcel at Camp Evans, off Marconi Road, Carl said . His plans are to convert the aging World War II-era structures into the InfoAge Science-History Center, an interactive,
hands-on museum — similar to Liberty Science Center
in Jersey City — that will offer tours and display Camp Evans artifacts and historic photographs.

Museum open Sundays

Carl founded the InfoAge center five years ago as part of an effort to preserve Camp Evans and has operated the
museum from a cottage on site for a three hours every Sunday.   Carl and several others  interested in preservation of Camp Evans presented the idea for the center to the township in 1993. It was accepted by the Army in 1996.

The federal Department of Defense transferred 17 of the
37 acres to the township on Aug. 25, Carl said . That portion of land, north of Marconi Road, includes four buildings, three
sheds and three garages, with a combined 6,000 square feet .
The remaining 20 acres in the historic district, however,
contain the most valuable piece of real estate because
they include the much coveted H-buildings, named for their
shape and totaling about 120,000 square feet . Carl said
much of the museum displays would be housed in the H-buildings.
Their transfer date is slated for the end of next
year, Verruni said.
Transfer of the H-buildings to the township has been on
hold for more than a decade because of the need to remove
contaminated soil.
Over the past couple of winters, the H-buildings have fallen into a dilapidated state.  Carl said power and heat were cut to the structures after workers hit electrical lines
during a sewer removal project.   Since then, pipes have burst, radiators have exploded and layers of latex-based paint
have peeled off the walls, rerevealing lead-based paint .
Earlier this year, the township had expressed concern over whether the H-buildings even would be usable when the Army finally turns them over.      But Verruni said yesterday
that Army officials currently are searching for additional
funding sources to pay for building repairs to make them
usable. The Army already has invested roughly $25 million in
soil cleanup at the site, officials have said.
“We are pleased with the progress we’re making,” Verruni
said . “They (the Army) are putting together a proposal
to remediate the buildings .”

Radio clubs also involved

Meanwhile, Carl; a former high school science teacher in
Ocean Township and Long Branch who is currently an account manager for a Denville based computer consultant company, said he is excited to begin work on the learning center.
The Infoage center would be funded through historic preservation and science education grants, Carl said . He could not estimate how much it would cost to start up the museum.       Several groups — including
the New Jersey Antique Radio Club and the Quarter Century
Wireless Association — will join Carl in his venture and volunteer at the learning center.
Ray Chase, a trustee with the radio club, said the group
will use the new space to display some 100 antique radios . Camp Evans was a former Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. laboratory .
“It’s extremely important,” Chase said of the transfer. “It’s a very historic site. This gives us access to the room and facilities that will enable us to have more programs and activities.”

page created September 18, 2004