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Anticipation grows for new Boys & Girls Clubs building

January 24, 2019 GMT

In less than two months, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne expects to settle into an upgraded facility, thanks to a multimillion-dollar capital campaign.

The agency that provides educational support, career information and other development initiatives for youths offered media a preview Wednesday of the new, 42,500-square-foot building on Fairfield Avenue.

The keys to the facility are expected to be handed over to Joe Jordan, president and CEO of the organization, on March 18, a news release said.

“We have been so blessed to be handed this tool to make great futures for our kids,” Jordan said in a statement. “It is a building built by the community and for the community and we are so grateful.”

Construction began in January 2017, and the new building will replace the old one on the 2.3-acre property at 2609 Fairfield Ave..

A capital committee, under the guidance of Sweetwater Sound founder and CEO Chuck Surack, raised $11 million in less than a year to build the facility, the Boys & Girls Clubs said.

Features in the building include a full collegiate-size gymnasium with wood flooring, basketball and volleyball courts, and a stage featuring state-of-the-art sound and lighting. There’s also a drop screen for movies and presentations and five learning centers, each of which can hold 50 to 100 youths.

Other features include an e-gaming/technology room, a dance/fitness studio, tutoring room, fitness room, a sensory room and a new building trades partnership room.

Jordan said college and career planning for youths with an emphasis on the building trades has been a dream of his for years. In the fall, the organization announced Project Blueprint, a joint effort with the Northeast Indiana Building Trades and contractor Michael Kinder and Sons to meet this goal.

“Our new facility allows for some of this special training to take place,” he said.

The organization emphasizes diversity, and in 2018, served more than 4,000 young people, many of whom face significant challenges including poverty, broken homes and poor school performance.

Membership is expected to double in the next couple of years with an almost immediate 30 percent increase, primarily within the teen membership, the news release said.