With the goal of building a permanent facility, board members, supporters and staff of the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado County Western Slope gathered last Friday night to formally launch a building campaign.
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Already 40 percent of the way toward their goal, to date $1 million of the needed $2.5 million has been raised.
Currently located in the Armory where it’s been for the past 14 years, Judy Morris, immediate past president of the club, said they have outgrown the site and want a permanent facility for the children.
“We average about 140 kids a day at the Placerville site and 300 kids a day between it and our two other sites in Pollock Pines and Georgetown,” she said. “The new site will be able to accommodate 225 kids alone.”
Sean McCartney, executive director of the club, said the new facility will be a unique, new and special place for all the kids who come through their doors.
“The club makes a big difference,” said McCartney. “Sixty-five percent of our enrollment are kids from low-income homes. We scholarship over 70 percent of our kids which means they pay no fees. But the club is more than just a fun place. It’s also a place for kids to do their homework, to get computer help, or take on an arts and crafts project. There’s always something for the kids to do, to try something new and break them out of their shells.”
However, the new facility won’t just be for the kids, McCartney explained. Other groups can use it as well. “It will be something that will have a positive impact on the entire community,” he added, saying it would become a new landmark in town where people can meet and hold events.
“We will break ground in 2014 and by 2015 we will have it built. We’re going to make it happen,” he pledged.
Showing off the plans for the building on Friday night was Charlie Downs, who is a board member and senior principal with Architectural Nexus and the architect for the project.
“This is truly a transitional time and a game changer for the club,” said Downs. “The new facility will be a really fun place for the kids, full of bright colors and an exciting and vibrant space.”
To be located at Green Valley Road and Mallard Lane, the new clubhouse will also be considerably larger at 15,000 square feet. The Armory is only 9,000.
The facility will have a multi-purpose room that will seat up to 250 people and also function as a full-sized gym. In addition, it will have a full-sized kitchen, music room, art room, game room, teen room, studying/educational center, a computer lab with 20 computer stations, and an outdoor patio area for events.
“We’ve been discussing building a new facility for a year,” said Morris, “but it’s been a dream of (board member) Jim Carter for 10 years. He was instrumental in starting the club along with others.”
Jim Carter and his business partner, Gary “Skip” Kelly, of Carter Kelly Inc., are the ones who donated the land for the facility and will be the contractors on the project. Carter is also on the board of directors of the Boys and Girls Club.
One of the speakers at the event, Carter said he and Kelly were both members of the Richmond-El Cerrito Boys Club when they were youngsters.
“Sixty percent of kids in our program fall below the poverty line,” he said, adding that the club is a “home away from home for many of these kids.
“In the same way my life was influenced, the kids attending our club will be similarly influenced by the staff,” Carter continued. “There were people who helped me along the way and gave me things my parents couldn’t. I thought, some day we need to build this building. Well, the program has now outgrown the building,” he said, adding that the new facility would serve as a beacon for the community.
Board members and staff emphasized that any sized donation towards the new facility is appreciated although special recognition will go to those donating a minimum of $100 with differing levels of recognition based on the amount donated. Those giving $100,000 or more will have naming rights for interior rooms along with their name or business name displayed in the building itself.
To make it easier to give, people have the option of paying their donation as a lump sum or over a three-year period. That allows people to give more, if they choose, and to also take the gift off three year’s worth of tax returns. However, all gifts have to be paid in full by June 2017 and a commitment contract is needed.
Donation checks can be sent directly to the Boys and Girls Club or to the El Dorado Community Foundation, which is acting as the club’s fiscal agent for the project. People should note on their check that it is for the Boys and Girls Club capital campaign.
Checks can be mailed to the Boys and Girls Club El Dorado County Western Slope, P.O. Box 2535, 212 Armory Drive, Placerville, 95667, or to the El Dorado County Community Foundation, 312 Main Street, No. 201, Placerville, 95667. For more information, contact McCartney at 530-295-8019.
“This is an exciting time for our club and our kids,” said McCartney. “This is a legacy project for our future and our past.”
Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.