The Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada’s William N. Pennington Teen Center marked its official opening Thursday.
“On behalf of Carson City, the greatest city in Nevada and the greatest city in the United States,” said Mayor Bob Crowell as he and Kurt Meyer, president of the clubs’ board, cut the ribbon on the new facility adjacent to the Multi-Activities Center.
Meyer said $400,000 raised to fund the new center was matched by a $1.2 million grant from the William N. Pennington Foundation. Another $120,000 was added in in-kind donations.
“This is fantastic. Once it got up and going there was no stopping us,” said Meyer, looking around the 6,500 square-foot center, which includes two computer labs, an art room, snack bar, video game area, pool table and patio.
Autumn Cuellar, one of the teens who helped hire the center’s architect and provided input on its design, delivered a taped speech.
“I was 11 when I first went to the club. From the first day I felt safe, welcomed, and accepted. It changed my life. This sparked the light of hope that people won’t judge a book by its cover. My club opened my book and saw the real me,” said Cuellar.
Cuellar, 18, is entering the University of Nevada, Reno in the fall to study engineering.
“The reason I do this is it provides the youth of this community a safe, fun and leadership- and character-building environment they can thrive in,” said Katie Leao, the clubs’ chief professional officer.
Also on hand to celebrate the new center were Supervisors Karen Abowd, Lori Bagwell and Brad Bonkowski as well as representatives from the offices of Rep. Mark Amodei and Gov. Brian Sandoval.
The teen center, which was previously housed in a single room, started the year with 57 members and now has 100, according to Matt Sampson, program director.
The new center was designed by architect Michael Thompson, Tectonics Design Group, Reno, and built by Shaheen Beauchamp Builders, Carson City.
The facility is open from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during the summer with plans to expand hours during the school year.
Membership is $30 a year.
The William N. Pennington Teen Center is located at 1870 Russell Way.