Gainesville Daily Register

Local News

November 20, 2011

New Boys and Girls Club closer to reality

Gainesville — According to the Cooke County Boys and Girls Club website, the entities’ mission is to inspire and enable all young people, “especially who need us the most,” to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. The organization provides structured, comprehensive development programs for youth in grades K–12. The focus is to provide quality after-school programs, under the supervision of a professional staff, that supplement and enhance their learning and nurturing environments.

 Cooke County Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Trisha West said many of the programs that the Clubs offer fall in three categories: Academic success, character and leadership, and healthy life skills. The Boys and Girls Clubs also have programs that feed children and offer an after-school program to help ensure the growth of local children.

“I think this project is wonderful,” West said. “We badly need a new facility and I am thrilled the community is coming together to do this for us.”

The idea was that the current location for the Boys and Girls Club on Hird Street was in the wrong location to meet the needs of the children it serves, project coordinator and volunteer Ray Nichols said.

Nichols said the club asked the Gainesville Independent School District to do a mapping of where the students who attend the Boys and Girls Club live.

Most families are two-parent working or single-parent homes; therefore, moving to this new location will keep these kids from being latchkey kids, he said.

“There were five different locations we looked at,” he said. “The old junior high school location was the best fit.”

The school district deeded the land to the City of Gainesville for the purpose of leasing the property to the Boys and Girls Club to provide youth programs for children in this community, Nichols said.

“The new location will be in walking distance to more children’s homes,” West said.

Nichols said that local contractors in the area have offered to demolish the building and the city council approved the city to haul and dispose of the waste.

Nichols met Wednesday with the contractors and together they decided on a schedule.

“Nothing exact, but they informed me that once given two weeks notice they can all get started,” he said.

He continued one small glitch in the schedule is that part of the building is three stories tall and a crane and wreaking ball are going to be needed to tear down that section.

Nichols estimated the work that the contractors and city are donating would have cost the project $210,000 to $220,000. The money saved can go to help the construction costs.

“These contractors are donating their time, equipment, employees and diesel to the project.” he said.

Money for this project was donated from one major benefactor, the North Texas Economic Corporation.

“The purpose of the foundation was to bring business to the community and business men from the area donated from their pockets to get the project going,”he said. “After the Gainesville Economic Development Foundation was formed, there wasn’t anything for the North Texas Economic Corporation to do and they donate the money for the construction of the new facility.”

Currently, the goal needed for the project is $6.1 million dollars.

Nichols said that right now they are $2.5 million short and stressed that the public should not to give up on this project.

“We will accomplish this,” he said. “It’s not a race to get it done tomorrow. It takes time.”

Nichols also said he is looking and applying to foundations for grants outside of Gainesville.

“We are making sure that all of this money comes from sponsorships, gift and donations because we don’t want this to hurt any of the Cooke County Boys and Girls Club’s programs,” he said.

For more information about the club visit the website www.cookecountyboysandgirlsclub.com.

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