As plans for its new teen center move forward, the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence is expanding its fundraising efforts with hopes of opening the multimillion dollar center by late 2017.
The club has already raised more than half of the funds needed and is launching a public campaign for the remainder.
“We want all of Lawrence to participate in this campaign, whether it’s through volunteerism or giving,” said Colby Wilson, executive director of the club. “So, it’s really about casting a wider net.”
The teen center will provide after-school and summer programming for Lawrence middle school and high school students. Plans for the 22,000 square-foot facility include a teaching kitchen, music studio, art rooms, a full-size gymnasium and a large multipurpose area and game room.
Teen center floor plans ( .PDF )
In partnership with the Lawrence school district, the teen center will also connect to the Lawrence College and Career Center, 2910 Haskell Ave. The connection between the two buildings will enable the Boys & Girls Club to use the robotics and science lab, 3D printer and other work spaces available at the career center.
The club’s current facility has the capacity for about 70 students. The new teen center will replace that facility and allow the club to serve 250 to 300 kids on a daily basis, Wilson said. Currently, a yearly membership for middle school and high school students is $25 and allows students to drop in to the teen center as little or as often as they would like. Because of that structure, Wilson said the number of yearly visitors to the club is significantly higher than the daily capacity.
“We anticipate over 1,000 middle school and high school kids coming through the doors in a year,” Wilson said. “…Once they are a member of the club, they can drop in anytime. Most of them do come on the buses right after school, but there’s no requirement to attend every day.”
The club has raised $2.3 million toward the $4.25 million teen center already, and hopes to raise the remainder of the funds by the end of the year, Wilson said. To build support, the club is offering tours of the career center and the current teen center, 1520 Haskell Ave. The club currently has after-school programs at all 14 of the school district’s elementary schools, and Wilson said the teen center will address the needs of older students.
“…There are still thousands of middle and high school students that need us,” he said. “We have a wait list at our current teen center that we can finally accommodate once this project is finished.”
Though the project is dependent on fundraising, Wilson said the plan is to have the new teen center open by fall of next year. Tours can be arranged on the campaign’s website.