- Michael D. Clark Staff Writer
The future center of after-school youth activities for West Chester and Liberty townships is being built ahead of schedule, Boys & Girls Club officials said Monday.
Originally the two-story, 30,000 square-foot club rising from the site of the former Lakota Union School in Olde West Chester - 8735 Cincinnati Dayton Road - was estimated to open in late December or January 2018.
But Patti Alderson, board of director member for the club and leader of its private $9 million fund-raising goal, said the center is ahead of its original construction schedule and - barring unforeseen building delays – could open as early as November.
“It’s gone up pretty quick,” said Alderson of the club, which will be six times larger than the current space off of Smith Road in West Chester.
Brick work is completed on the front of the expansive building and dry wall is being erected inside with some sections of the building now sporting windows.
The club will be the largest structure in the resurgence of the historical Olde West Chester business district along Cincinnati-Dayton Road between Interstate 75 and West Chester Road.
The stretch of mostly retail businesses – including one of the region’s largest collections of hair salons and spas – will soon be enhanced by the addition of a turning lane on Cincinnati-Dayton to help relieve commuter traffic.
That work day traffic provides many in Butler County with periodic chances to see the club’s progress.
“They are surprised about how big it is and they like the look of the building,” said Alderson, citing her many conversations while fund-raising in the two townships.
“And they like how it fits into the whole ambiance of Olde West Chester,” she said. “The community has welcomed us with open arms.”
The current Boys & Girls serves about 300 families but Alderson said she and other officials are confident many more will take advantage of the club’s many sports, educational, social and other programs.
Even as the building takes shape, club officials have already altered some of its spaces for its youth and teen members.
Initial plans called for the facility to include a recording studio, but officials have since added to those plans with the addition of a large green wall so members can project special effects behind them as they record videos in the space.
Also moving up in the club’s priority list is the search for a club CEO and director of operations, said Alderson.