Shannon Goodrick, director of the Fallon Youth Club since 2004, bubbled with enthusiasm.
Receiving the keys to a new $5.3 million facility for moving in equipment and supplies may have reminded her of the time in high school when she received keys to her first car. Likewise, board member and retired Churchill County School District educator Gary Imelli, who has been on the board when the youth center first opened, said the new building is appealing to their mission of working with Churchill County’s children.
Both Goodrick and Imelli took the Lahontan Valley News and this retired editor on a Friday afternoon tour of the building, pointing out the different areas that will enhance learning experience for the community’s children.
“This entire facility is designed for what we want to do,” said Goodrick, the 17-year director of FYC.
She said there’s space for both structured and unstructured activities. The building, though, won’t officially open until mid-February. When the building officially opens, the LVN will follow up with government officials and the community for their thoughts on the new facility.
The groundbreaking ceremony to signal the beginning of construction at Venturacci Park west of the gym occurred in late May 2019. The overall cost $5,339,400. According to information released by the city of Fallon in December 2017, the Pennington Foundation awarded the city of Fallon a $4.5 million grant toward the center, and both the city and Churchill County secured about $1.4 million in required project matching funds.
“It’s a wonderful facility,” Imelli pointed out. “I think when our kids get here they will want to be here.”
Imelli said the new building makes Fallon “special” because of its commitment to the area’s youth.
Both Goodrick and Mindy Darcy, director of Operations, designed the 15,500-squre foot building and then waited for the architects and builder, K7 Construction, to make the magic happen. Upon entering the building, all visitors first encounter a single-point entry and once past the secured door, they find themselves standing in a spacious quad area — the center of FYC’s universe. Goodrick quickly pointed out every room has a line of sight, which is important for each child’s safety.
“Every safety precaution is here,” she pointed out while moving around the quad.
One of the first rooms visitors will see is the teen center, a room that can be closed for the teenagers in the program. A brightly colored recreation room, Goodrick said, beckons those to participate in a number of activities. A re-felted pool table given to the FYC from the William N. Pennington Foundation stands out. Overall, Imelli said the rooms’ colors should be appealing to the children.
Next to the quad is a bubble room, something Goodrick saw at Western Nevada College and liked.
“The space is used for small groups and intensive activities,” Goodrick explained, adding that life skills is a subject that could be instructed to the students.
There’s also space for robotics that provides for advanced learning in technology.
In the western part of the building is a state-of-the-art kitchen and multipurpose room that includes a stage. Imelli said the stage and seating area could be used for 21st Century activities, spelling and talent shows. Goodrick said the annual fundraiser and dinner could be held in the building once the governor’s coronavirus pandemic restrictions are eased or removed.
“This is a kitchen to be envied by everybody,” both Goodrick and Imelli said.
Goodrick said the staff now has a complete facility to cook meals for the children.
“Amazing,” she said of the kitchen, adding Alisa Andrews, a realtor with Charles Kitchen Realty in Carson City, donated new and used kitchen accessories to help FYC.
Around the corner from the kitchen is the learning center with its bright orange and green walls, and an adjacent office gives grant coordinator Ricky Beach a space to work on funding needs. Goodrick said Beach ensures both the school district and FYC are satisfying grant requirements.
Rooms for the staff and the conference room offer wide open spaces and a view of the quad.
FYC began its operations at E.C. Best Elementary School and then moved to the former school district administration building when the central offices relocated to the remodeled old high school. FYC currently serves about 70 children either for all-day or after-school activities, and both Goodrick and Imelli said the enrollment could increase upward to 150.
Initially, Imelli said the board discussed the need for a larger building such as a warehouse that could be transformed into a youth facility. He added the district office was a good location at Oats Park, but as the student population increases, he said FYC needed a new building.
Goodrick concurred. She and Darcy designed what they needed in the new building, and the instructions given to them was to design their facility within a rectangle.
“We knew what the building needed,” Goodrick explained. “It’s mind-blowing what these people did with our thoughts.”