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Renovations delay opening of Girls Inc.

September 10, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

In early September, the Girls Inc. building on Washington Avenue is usually filled with the noise of girls spending their after-school hours participating in athletics, working on their studies or socializing.

But this year, the sounds filling the area are those of the ongoing construction that delayed the 2004-05 season's opening.

Maureen Grove, executive director of Girls Inc., said the group could not open this year at the beginning of the school year as it usually does because improvements to the building were not completed.

She said the facility should be ready by mid-October.

Grove said the construction of a gymnasium and a second-floor as well as renovations to the existing building were slowed by several construction delays in the past year.

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"With the weather in the winter and the rain in the spring, it delayed us by a few weeks," Grove said.

Grove said the improved facility will include more space for an education center, an enlarged kitchen, a dance room and a 108-foot-by-82-foot gym, among other amenities.

During its months of operation, usually September through June, Girls Inc. is open Monday through Thursday until 8 p.m., and Friday until 5 p.m. Girls between the ages of 5 and 18 may seek help with homework, use the technology center and participate in activities that include volleyball and dance at the facility for a cost of $5 per month, Grove said.

Girls Inc., which also provides dinners for girls who stay there late, serves an estimated 700 girls per year, Grove said.

Grove said she apologized to parents who rely annually on Girls Inc. She said the wait will be worth it for the girls who participate.

"I'm sure it's been very difficult for parents trying to find other resources for their children after school, but we're working as hard as we can," Grove said. "In the end, we're going to have a much larger, much better facility to serve the youth in the county."

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