New BGC opens to smiles
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Harrison-Crawford Counties for a long time has had staff, students and programming to be proud of.
Now, the BGC also has a new, state-of-the-art facility.
As evident by the excited and smiling faces of staff and students walking into the building, located at 134 Jenkins Court next to the YMCA of Harrison County, the new home is quite a hit.
‘The tweens (ages 9 through 12) love it; the teens love it,’ Cheyenne Wright, Harrison County site director, said during a brief staff meeting Thursday afternoon. ‘Everyone has a smile on their face; the staff, the kids. Even the parents are excited. They peek through the windows to get a look.’
The first official day in the building was Tuesday, Jan. 2, and it has been a whirlwind since then with new items delivered nearly every day, Kim Grizzel, executive director, said.
Grizzel, who has been in her position for four-plus years, said she just recently is able to walk through the building without tearing up.
A grand-opening celebration will take place at a later date.
During snack time Thursday afternoon, students from New Middletown and Heth-Washington elementary schools proclaimed the building their ‘favorite place in the world.’
The 19,065-square-foot facility includes a full gymnasium, teen room, art room, study/tech room, tween room, break/conference room, full kitchen, preschool room, four personal offices, a work area, security vestibule and a check-in/help desk.
The club includes a large common area with tables for lunch or snack time, pool tables, ping-pong tables, carpet ball, video game stations and more.
The old home, the former Gerdon Youth Center along East Chestnut Street in downtown Corydon, will be transformed into senior living lofts.
The Corydon School Senior Lofts project is being developed by Myszak + Palmer Inc., which has submitted an application to the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority as part of the Town of Corydon’s Stellar Community plan. The renovation of the building and new construction on adjacent land will bring 27 one-bedroom units, 15 two-bedroom units and three efficiency units to the Chestnut Street site.
The building previously was donated to the BGC by Bill Gerdon of Corydon. Gerdon visited the new facility in December.
‘Without him, this wouldn’t be possible,’ Grizzel said.
The building also would not have been possible without the Harrison County Community Foundation. In fact, the building is the Foundation’s property, with a lease agreement set up for the BGC.
Shireman Construction was the general contractor for the $3 million project.
The Foundation will own the building, and the club will pay rent at a rate of $500 per month for the first five years. That money will be set aside for building maintenance, Steve Gilliland, HCCF president and CEO, said. Routine maintenance, however, will be the responsibility of the club.
Sponsorship opportunities for the building include the facility name, gymnasium, rooms, scoreboards, rock wall, furniture, separating curtain and more.
Another sponsorship opportunity, which will help with the operating budget, is a ‘scholarship’ of $2,500 to pay for a child to attend the club all year.
For more information about the club or to donate, call Grizzel at 812-738-1696.
Besides the Corydon location, the club has multiple sites in Crawford County schools and has just this year started a before-school program at Corydon Elementary School.
The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs is to ‘enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.’
School-year attendance at the club has quadrupled in the past four years, to a total of 182.
The club transports from 10 Harrison County schools (it does not transport students from South Central).
The Harrison County side of the club has an annual budget of $430,324.
Each dollar invested in the Boys & Girls Clubs generates an estimated $9.60 in economic benefits for communities, club officials said.