Boys & Girls Club of Washington Co. breaks ground on recreational center

July 26, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ |
  • Boys & Girls Club's Jim Deaner talks about the new recreational ceneter being built behind him at Noland Village .
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Construction on a fun new place in Noland Village has begun.

The Boys & Girls Club of Washington County is building a nearly 40,000-square-foot recreational center within the public housing community, according to Executive Director Jim Deaner.

There will be a gym and four classrooms, Deaner said Tuesday, when a symbolic groundbreaking was held across Noland Drive from the city site.

The project will cost about $2 million, he said. So far, the club has invested about $300,000 and is trying to raise more money.

Currently, the club has used two small rooms for its programs in Noland Village. If 30 kids are there, it's crowded, said Buck Browning, the director of development.

The new building will be able to accommodate at least three times as many at once, he said.

It is a project that's been a long time coming.

Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said the recreation center should have been built 30 years ago, but it's important that it's getting done now.

Julie M. Rohm, the president of the club's board, asked the small group assembled for the groundbreaking to envision not just the building, but children enjoying it at some point in the near future.

The city of Hagerstown donated three acres for the project.

In 2006, the Hagerstown City Council agreed to convey the land, which the Rosen family had deeded to the city in 1971. The family agreed to the new use of the land.

At the time, a preliminary sketch plan showed a 19,900-square-foot building with a gym, a social area, a computer lab, a library, a game room, offices, a laundry, an art studio, a kitchen and a café. It was estimated to cost at least $1 million.

Deaner had said in 2005 that about 20 children in Noland Village take part in the Boys & Girls Club program, but "there's 500 there that need it."

Tim Henry, the vice president of the club's board, said in a phone interview Tuesday evening that the scope of the project got bigger after a study showed the increase was needed.

"We've got a great opportunity to reach out to a lot of kids that we haven't been able to get to because of the size of the facility," Deaner said.

This is third partnership between the Boys & Girls Club and the Hagerstown Housing Authority, which runs Noland Village.

The Boys & Girls Club also has programs at the housing authority's Elgin Station and Frederick Manor.

Hagerstown Housing Authority Executive Director Ted Shankle said the Boys & Girls Club probably has been the best feature of the authority's housing units.

Having the programs has virtually eliminated graffiti and vandalism at those units, he said.

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