The public will have the opportunity to meet new executive director Hal Hansen today at the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada.
Hansen brings 20 years of experience from Boys & Girls clubs in Arizona and fills a spot in the Carson City club that has been vacant for three months.
"Things are going great," he said. "It's a busy place (at the club)."
A welcoming party is 5-6:30 p.m. today at the Boys & Girls Club, 673 S. Stewart St. Punch and cookies will be served, and the facility will be open for tours. Call 882-8820 for information.
"I'll just be trying to put faces with some of the names," Hansen said.
Three hundred invitations were sent out for tonight's party. Tours are usually only available with a call in advance.
"This is the first time we really will have an open 'open' house," said Diane McCoy, Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada director of operations.
Hansen said he has been pleasantly surprised by the welcome he's received so far - not only by the people who know him through the club, but those he's met out and about since moving here.
"It's a very friendly atmosphere here in town," he said. "I feel very welcomed. I feel very comfortable."
One goal he will work toward as executive director is finding more space for the 300 children who use the club each day.
Jennifer Russell, president of the board of directors, said plans are under way for a $5 million dollar facility that could break ground later this year and potentially open sometime in 2006.
The Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada has worked with a consultant for several years now, she said, and those plans have been submitted to the city.
"Our (existing) club has 7,000 square feet. The club in Reno has more than 45,000 square feet," she said. "We have the population of an elementary school, and that's just insane. Comparatively speaking, we've been working in overcrowded circumstances the past seven or eight years.
"It's one of the reasons we want to have the open house tonight at the club," she said. "People can see the size of the club and really get a a grasp of how small our facility is and how overcrowded it is."
Many of the club's children will still be at the clubhouse when the party begins, providing attendees an idea about the crowding, she said. About $2.5 million, or half of the needed money, has been raised toward construction.
The Boys & Girls club is asking that people park at Sixth and Stewart streets today as space is limited in front.
"We're hoping for a really, really good turnout," said McCoy.
n Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at email@example.com or 881-1219.