New Boys & Girls Club on its way | NevadaAppeal.com

New Boys & Girls Club on its way

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Local dignitaries and kids turned out for a groundbreaking ceremony Friday morning for the new Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada off of Northridge Drive. From left, Casley Matthews, 10, Cory Wilson, Jesse Knight and Oscar Chavez, all 9, participate in the ceremony.

Larger fields, more space for art projects and increased programs were among the things members of the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada listed as looking forward to seeing with the completion of their new building.

But the most anticipated amenity? More bathrooms

In the new clubhouse, there will be four sets of boys and girls bathrooms, while there is only one each in the current building.

And there are other benefits as well.

“It will be bigger,” said Arthur Navarro, 10. “It will be harder for your parents to find you.”

On Friday, board members, community leaders, the mayor, the sheriff and others met at the corner of Russell Way and Northridge Dive for a groundbreaking ceremony. Also present were some 20 students from Fremont Elementary School who are on break and could attend the ceremony Friday morning.

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“It’s exciting that we’re the only school that gets to be here,” said Makalya Ragnone, 9.

Many of the community officials dug their golden-colored shovels into the dirt at the intersection, which by the end of summer 2006 should be home to a $3 million, 12,500-square-foot clubhouse with a lounge, computer room, teen room and several offices.

“You have to realize this club is unique,” said Mayor Marv Teixeira. “We have more daily average attendance than the Truckee Meadows Boys & Girls Club.”

He said the partnership with the Carson City School District, which buses students over after school makes the program a success.

“It’s that kind of partnership that has sustained the club and will take the club to the highest level,” he said.

Future phases include a teaching kitchen, classroom space, administrative offices, a library, board room and an art room. Nearly $2 million of the money being used for the first phase came during a “quiet” phase of fundraising in which private donors gave gifts of $100,000.

“I’m so excited,” said Development Director Kristie Traver. “I started at the Boys & Girls Club one year ago. At that point, we didn’t know when we were going to have a groundbreaking. Our new executive director (Hal Hansen) has made this our top priority.”

With the first phase complete, it will nearly double the size of the existing clubhouse, which is 7,000 square feet, including portable buildings. When the final project is done, it will be 40,000 square feet and cost, at current predictions, more than $5 million.

“We’re hoping to get as much support as we can during the next few months, so we can go right into Phase II or at least get enough money to build the gym,” Traver said.

The old building, which was leased by the club from the state, will be vacated.

“We’ve known for the last seven or eight years, we wouldn’t be able to stay there forever,” said board President Jennifer Russell.

A larger facility means more programs and for Justin Wass, outreach coordinator for teens, it means fewer teens on the street and more at the clubhouse.

“This is a moment we’ve been waiting for forever,” he said. “At least it feels that way.”

— Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at moneill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.