Boys & Girls Club to get new space
Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Chris Risinger raised the ante in his bid to get more room for young club members and their afterschool activities, and took home a bigger prize last week.
Risinger told the Morgan County Commission he was withdrawing an earlier request to have an added third-floor room in the Community Services building, which the club shares with the Morgan County Health Department and the Senior Life Services.
Instead, he asked to move the club into the senior center space when the center moves to its new home in the former U.S. Silica headquarters sometime this summer.
The commissioners unanimously agreed almost immediately, thanking Risinger for his work with local children through the Boys & Girls Club.
Membership up & active
The club has 163 active members, with an average daily attendance of 77 kids, said Risinger. That’s up from a daily average of 64 last year.
The club occupies two main rooms, with roughly 800 square feet of space.
Risinger outlined some of the key programs the club offers, including homework help, life and job-preparation skills, character-building and community service efforts.
Taking over the larger space will have many positives, Risinger said. The Senior Center is roughly 8,000 square feet.
Commission President Stacy Dugan, who has two children in the club, said she will be happy to see the club take over the space, especially the commercial kitchen and eating space in the senior center.
Each day, the Boys & Girls Club serves an average of 65 dinners to its members, and provides snacks as well. During summer camp, the number of meals multiplies, said Risinger.
Risinger said the numerous rooms in the senior center will be a real asset to their programs.
“Having separate rooms would be great, especially a dedicated room just for homework. We would be able to have areas for each age group and noise would be cut down,” said Risinger.
“You’re not going to keep 77 kids quiet,” he said.
Right now, an average of 25-30 teens come to the club each day, Risinger said, and hold their activities in a room separate from the younger school-age kids.
Space has become crowded for the club’s members in their second-floor rooms near the Health Department, and noise from the club has been a concern with the offices nearby.
County officials were optimistic that moving the club to the first floor of the county-owned building would be a plus for everyone.
“It was always in my mind that if we could pull it off, you would have that space,” said Commissioner Brenda Hutchinson.
Senior center officials have estimated they might be ready to move their operations by the end of this summer.