By GREG RUSSELL
Register Staff Writer
Development’s end for a new county-area Boys & Girls Club remains not quite in sight, but officials say the fundraising phase is partially over.
Organizer Ray Nichols said Eikon Consultant Group LLC is currently working the architecture for a June groundbreaking while more money pours in from donors. The facility’s future site remains in the 400 block of North Denton Street, formerly home to the Gainesville Junior High School building.
He added that roughly half the project’s $5.1 million cost has come from “individuals, corporations and foundations,” but didn’t detail which ones.
“That’s for them to disclose,” Nichols said Thursday. “When someone gives a gift, it’s up to them to disclose what they gave.”
Multiple gymnasiums, computer labs and learning centers are among the amenities intended, along with an art lab, garden and games lobby. In a November 2011 Register story, Nichols said club officials asked members of the Gainesville Independent School District to do a mapping of where the students who attend the Boys and Girls Club live.
It was readily discovered that most of the families involved had single parents or two parents who worked full-time, and so the North Denton Street location seemed ideal, providing a place within walking distance of many homes with children.
“There were five different locations we looked at,” Nichols said. “The old junior high school location was the best fit.”
During 2012, local contractors demolished the building and the Gainesville City Council approve a hauling and disposal of the waste by use of city resources, saving project developers as much as $220,000.
“These contractors are donating their time, equipment, employees and diesel to the project,” Nichols said in 2011.
As a build-up to the facility’s opening, community groups are involved with promoting it. Members of Westminster Presbyterian Church will sponsor a “Welcome to the Neighborhood” party for the Boys and Girls Club of Cooke County from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at the North Denton Street development site. It is free and open to the public, and will include a cookout and games for children.
Tricia West of Cooke County Boys & Girls Club said the event has two purposes: as a promotion for the facility to come and as a recruitment tool for future members.
“There are a lot of families and children who aren’t really exposed to the Boys & Girls Club yet and will now be able to participate,” West said Thursday.