Final Touches

Boys and Girls Club of Douglas CEO Michele Carter slaps a sticker with a reminder to wash your hands above a sink in one of the bathrooms in the new facility June 15. The building will begin operations June 29, according to Carter.

It’s an early summer morning and you yawn as you get ready for work. Although you have a lot on your mind, one thing that doesn’t burden you is where your child will be or what they will be doing. They’re going to the new Boys and Girls Club building.

According to Boys and Girls Club CEO of Douglas Michele Carter, the new facility will be open and accepting children June 29.

While the old BAGC building held about 75 to 80 kids per day in the Summer and served 300 kids, according to Carter, she expects to see 100 members per day in the new building. She also expects 100 new members to join the club.

“There were some parents in our community that didn’t like the look of the old building and we didn’t judge them for that,” Carter said. “We did what we could in that building for many years, but we know a bright new beautiful facility is going to appeal to a lot of new parents and we’re excited for that.”

After some uncertainty whether or not the county would dole out their second payment of $500,000 to the club’s project, Carter said funding was moving forward, and they’d have access to the second payment July 1.

Because the city will initially own the building, as they were legally required to to fund the project, there is some uncertainty about whether Douglas or the BAGC will be responsible for maintenance and repairs for the building.

“We understand that we are going to be responsible for a lot of those things,” Carter said. “for snow removal, lawn care, the plumbing and stuff like that. We’re ready to take that on, but we just haven’t sat down with the city and actually drawn up what the lease agreement looks like and what those lines are.”

City Administrator Jonathaon Teichert confirmed that the city and club still need to hash out the specifics with maintenance.

BAGC staff and Sampson construction are on the “punch list’” stage of finishing the building.

“We walk around with blue tape and we put that up on walls, or carpet, or anything that we see that needs to be redone before we open,” Carter said.

Along with fixing minor blemishes inside the building, the outside playground area and other landscaping on the grounds is still being finished.

While the facility will open June 29, staff will have to operate differently to adhere to state health guidelines in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That’s just making sure our cleaning is more robust. We do have to take temperatures of kids and staff as they come in, we have to make sure there’s a lot more handwashing going on and a lot more sanitizing of things we touch like tables and chairs,” Carter explained.

Recent orders from Governor Mark Gordon allow 250 people to gather in one area, and 50 to gather in an enclosed space, although Carter said they won’t be able to allow that many in the new building while still maintaining the six-foot distance rule.

While the BAGC headquarters has improved, according to Carter, the cost to parents will stay the same, with a $10 membership fee and standard fees of $50 a month after school for the youngest child in a family and $25 for each extra child. The monthly charges turn into weekly charges during the summer. There are also reductions for those on reduced school lunches and children in 6th grade or higher are free to attend besides the membership fee.

“The whole point of Boys and Girls Clubs across the nation is to get the youth involved in enrichment activities throughout the summer and after school without it being a financial burden for the parent,” Carter explained.

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