Dover Boys & Girls Club opens new facility

 

DOVER –– With a symbolic snip of a ribbon with over-sized scissors the Greater Dover Boys & Girls Club opened the doors to its new facility on New Burton Road Wednesday.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Scott Brown, former board president of the Greater Dover Boys & Girls Club.

“About 10 years ago we started planning this and there were times it seemed like it was never going to happen and I said, ‘it’s going to get done.’”

Completing the vision included a well-timed coincidence –– Kent County developing plans for a recreation center.

The center was planned to be developed on an old bean farm, previously owned by the Kesselring Family.

About 80 acres of the property transferred to the county in 2009 was set aside for a Boy Scout camp. The other 50 would be used for the proposed recreation center.

The Boys & Girls Club saw the opportunity for a partnership to build between the two entities and approached Kent County Levy Court in 2012 suggesting a joint venture.

The Greater Dover Boys & Girls Club has never been a stranger to partnerships with other organizations since its inception in 1991.

After starting at Simon Circle serving 500 kids with a law enforcement consul it expanded to Wesley College, then Delaware State University followed by Dover Air Force Base and now Kent County.

“It takes a village to raise a child today and that’s what this is all about –– a community coming together to help kids have a great life and future,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

After years of negotiations and planning, the two finally planned out a joint use facility housing both the recreation center and a new Boys & Girls Club.

Through planning with Becker Morgan, EDiS and Lighthouse Construction, both groups were able to work together to create a finished project that took more than 40 different companies to complete.

“I will venture to say while there may be other collaborations between counties and non-profits, there has been nothing that has produced something this magnificent,” said George Krupanski, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware.

The joint effort ended up saving both organizations time and money, two of the most valuable business commodities.

“When economies are struggling and tax dollars are limited, this kind of partnership is a cost effective approach to maximize services for the county,” Mr. Krupanski said. “We wouldn’t achieve what we’ve done together individually.”

Although partnering with the county was a money-saver, the new facility was still a huge economic endeavor for the non-profit Boys & Girls Club.

A $10 million capital campaign was launched about two years ago to not only fund the new facility, but to address major infrastructure needs at other locations and to offer more programs.

One of those new programs made possible through the campaign is STEM –– science, technology engineering and mathematics.

A computer lab, resource center and tutors will make it possible for kids to work with the STEM cirriculum.

The Greater Dover Club is one of the first in the state to offer STEM learning opportunities.

“My passion for the Boys & Girls Club comes from one word –– opportunity,” Mr. Brown said. “Throughout my lifetime, I can look back at my success and attribute it to opportunities I was given along the way.

“People saw something in me that I didn’t see in me and that’s why I have a passion for the Boys & Girls Club. This facility is going to provide so many more opportunities for our youth in this community.”

Through its partnerships the Greater Dover Boys & Girls Club has been able to serve and provide opportunities to more than 38,000 young people over the past 25 years.

The New Burton Road facility will consolidate the current DSU and Simon Circle locations which serve a combined average of 100 kids per day.

But the new facility will be able to accommodate up to 300.

Lighthouse Construction estimates that the facility, if maintained properly will be able to continue serving young people for another 40 or 50 years.

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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