PREVIOUSLY WRITTEN The renovation of the Greater Smyrna Clayton Boys & Girls Club has been a work in progress for quite some time. Initially starting in 2009, the renovation has included upgrading the club restrooms to make them ADA compliant, bringing in new computers, enlarging the pre-school classroom, and putting in a new playground.
The Boys & Girls Club, which is on East Commerce Street, was originally the National Guard Armory before later being used as a training center for the Department of Correction. The building dates back to 1953, but became the Boys & Girls Club in 1999.
The Boys & Girls Club renovation has gained speed in recent months, partially due to the help of donations. The community center received a $50,000 federal grant from USDA Rural Development last summer. They’ve also received $100,000 from Kent County Levy Court and $84,000 from Highmark.
WHAT’S NEW The Boys & Girls Club reached a new milestone last year with the replacement of the roof. Regional Operations Team Leader Trisha Moses said the work on the roof renovation began in September and it took about four weeks to finish. During that time, the after school program relocated to a school in the Smyrna School District.
“It feels really, really good because we can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Moses said. “We’re just excited and very motivated. I think that every time we complete a project. That’s what we’ve done from the bathrooms to the roof. Whatever comes next it just is that small success that reenergizes the team that’s working towards this.”
The Boys & Girls Club has raised $290,000 with a goal of raising $350,000 towards the total $700,000 campaign; corporate matches the funds raised to pay for the renovation.
Moses said the Boys & Girls Club will be the benefactor of this year’s 30th Annual Holly’s Spring Fling, which was held on April 12 at the Cheswold Fire Hall.
Holly’s Club member Kristine Schultz said every year the club members choose a local group to help with the annual spring fling. The group has members actively involved in the Boys & Girls Club and after meeting with Moses in May 2013, decided this year’s spring fling would benefit the community center.
The Holly’s Club held a preview party at the Boys & Girls Club on Feb. 21 and then the actual Spring Fling on April 12. Schultz said the amount of money donated to the Boys & Girls Club will depend on the amount of money raised. Since the money will also go to the community fund and scholarships, the group will decide at their May meeting how much money will go to each area.
WHAT’S NEXT Finishing the roof was a relief for the organization but the work isn’t done yet. The Boys & Girls Club will have its HVAC system either upgraded or replaced; plus the gym needs to be redone. Moreover, there will be security upgrades done.
Moses said the Boys & Girls Club is in the process of receiving quotes for the remaining projects.
“We’re not going to wait until the end to get things done. As we raise the money, we will do the work,” Moses said.
She expects the work to take another year. Moses said the gym renovation will be done this summer; the HVAC work may be done then as well. The work may affect the programs offered at the Boys & Girls Club.
“We’re just going to have to make sure during the planning piece to have a plan in place to be able to serve the kids,” Moses said. “We never want to be in position where we just shut down.”
Moses is very appreciative of the board, staff, parents and the members for being so patient throughout this process.
“It’s been a busy but rewarding two years from the beginning of the campaign. I can’t wait until everything is done,” Moses said.