Construction will remain a constant for The Boys and Girls Club of the Flathead Reservation and Lake County for the foreseeable future, after it was announced the organization received a $1 million grant to go toward a new clubhouse.
Executive Director Aric Cooksley announced that the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation awarded the nonprofit a grant for $1 million, which will help build a clubhouse on the corner of Second Street West and 17th Avenue in Polson.
The award, Cooksley stated, “helps the Boys and Girls Club make significant strides toward funding phase one, exceeding the $2.4 million mark with a projected phase one budget of $4 million.”
“Optimistically, best-case-scenario, we would love to be able to break ground in 2019,” Cooksley said Thursday.
Factors that influence the physical process of building the new clubhouse will include fundraising and the behind-the-scene decisions and paperwork completed by necessary target dates, he added.
Conceptual plans for the building call for about 19,000 square feet, including a 7,500 square-foot gymnasium. The Polson clubhouse is anticipated to serve 200 children daily once it reaches full capacity, Cooksley said. The current clubhouse, located at 110 Sixth Ave. East, sees fewer than 50 children daily, as it often reaches capacity when the doors open each day.
The new location will also bring increased job opportunities for staff, Cooksley said. “We staff, on average, a ratio of 10 to 12 kids for every staff member.”
As operations get up and running over the next couple years, Cooksley said that not only are paid staff positions created, but volunteer engagement will come into play as well. “We really look at volunteers as, this is someone who, one, wants to be here with the kids, and two, is bringing some kind of expertise,” Cooksley said.
That expertise could range from a volunteer working and listening with a first-grade student as they read to a retired engineer helping to run a robotics program. “When you have that kind of ability, facilities-wise, to meet the diversity of skills that can come in your direction, you can go any number of directions.”
Anyone interested in volunteering or donation opportunities can contact the Boys and Girls Club Ronan office at (406) 676-5437.
For more information on the Boys and Girls Club, visit www.flatheadbgc.org.