Adjectives were in short supply Friday for those who helped make the region’s newest Boys & Girls Club a reality as they heaped lavish praise on the cutting edge youth facility.
It was a wide-eyed, “wow” sort of event, as the donors — which include some of Butler County’s most prominent business executives, community leaders and Ohio politicians — were invited into the $6.9 million club opening next month for youth from West Chester and Liberty townships.
The strikingly modern building features expansive, colorful activity areas, a gym, performance stage, study areas, classrooms, video studio with giant, special effects green screen, clinic, outdoor sports areas and a café with a juke box.
Boys & Girls Club officials have touted the 30,000-square-foot club in the Olde West Chester community as one of the best in the state.
“We live in a community that cares about kids and this (club) will be a life changer for them,” Patti Alderson, board director for the club, told more than 200 guests.
The new facility that is six times larger than the area’s current club on Smith Road in West Chester Twp.
On Sunday, Dec. 3, the public is invited to tour the facility at 8735 Cincinnati-Dayton Road at no charge from 1 to 5 p.m.
Friday’s invitation-only guest list included Ohio Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine, whose state office donated $750,000 through a Mortgage Settlement Grant.
Club officials estimate that once the facility opens for operation on Jan. 4 it will serve hundreds of students from Lakota Local Schools each school day. The club will also be open full days during Lakota’s summer break.
The club will also offer community meeting and event spaces for adults in both West Chester and Liberty townships.
“We can’t wait to show the new club to our children, their parents, and the community,” said Bridget Graber, Boys & Girls Club CEO. “So many opportunities will be available to them. This is a safe, nurturing place to be for children to come after school to make friends, complete homework, develop healthy lifestyles and learn how to become good citizens and community leaders.”
The club is located on nine acres on the site of the former Union Elementary School in the heart of Olde West Chester.
The spacious, two-story building is now the most visible symbol of a revitalized Olde West Chester business district that lines Cincinnati-Dayton Road, just south of the Interstate 75 exchange to West Chester Road.
“Boys & Girls Clubs make a positive difference in young people’s lives and we are committed to helping our youth succeed in school and in life,” said Dave Cook, chairman of the board of directors for the Boys & Girls Club of West Chester/Liberty.
Fundraising continues to cover the club’s operating costs, according to Cook.
“This is a community effort. We need for our community to understand the benefits the club will provide to our kids and support the club with operating dollars. If everyone gives a little, the burden will be light,” he said.