GOOD NEWS 2018: Construction of new Boys & Girls Club facility underway

Executive Director expects new building to open in October or November 2019
The foundation for the new Schenectady Boys & Girls Club begins to take shape Friday.
The foundation for the new Schenectady Boys & Girls Club begins to take shape Friday.

SCHENECTADY — Construction is underway for the new $13 million Boys & Girls Club facility in Quackenbush Park after a slight delay.

Shane Bargy, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Schenectady, said the delay was due to getting all of the financing for the project in place before construction started.

Now, with a bridge loan from M&T Bank in place, Bargy said they are on their way to providing a much needed service for the residents of the Hamilton Hill and Mont Pleasant neighborhoods.

“A miracle is happening in the middle of Hamilton Hill and Mont Pleasant.”

Foundation work is being done after 70 trees were cleared, which Bargy said 65 of them were rotted and “in serious trouble.”

Construction started in mid-December, Bargy said. Which means the facility may not be open until October or November of 2019. But Bargy said it will be worth the wait.

“If we have a reasonable winter, there’s no reason to expect we won’t be open in 11 months,” Bargy said. “For the Boys & Girls Club and the kids that we work with, we see this as a fulfillment of a dream that we’ve had for a long time.

Original story:

SCHENECTADY — A multi-million dollar Boys & Girls Club building scheduled to begin construction in Quackenbush Park this year has received $3 million in grant funding from the state on Wednesday.

The two-story building will serve kids from the Hamilton Hill and Mont Pleasant neighborhoods. It is meant to replace the former building that was located on Craig Street.

The facility is expected to cost approximately $9.2 million, with another $4 million going toward architect fees and operating costs, such as programming and staffing.

The building where the club had been located was sold to Community Builders as part of its approximately $60 million two-phase project in the Hamilton Hill neighborhood.

Shane Bargy, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Schenectady, said the funding —  awarded through the state Homes and Community Renewal’s Urban Community Investment Fund — will be helpful in funding the construction of the new state-of-the-art facility.

“Well, it’s amazing, honestly,” Bargy said of the funding. “It has very much helped make this project a definite go for the children and families of this community.”

The project was originally expected to cost around $10.9 million — construction and associated operating costs included — with funding through a mixture of public and private organizations.

The building is expected to include a 4,000-square-foot teen center, a commercial learning kitchen, large game rooms, technology centers, program rooms and a gym with bleachers.

The price tag for the planned facility went up due to a few modifications that came about during the design of the building.

Bargy said as time went on they realized they needed to make some areas of the new building bigger. So, instead of it being 38,587 square feet, it will be closer to 39,000 square feet.

Modifications include adding 1,000 square feet to the proposed theater, which is being designed with the help of Proctors, Bargy said

There were other areas of the building that needed to be enlarged as well.

“Since our announcement in December, we realized there were a few areas we needed to alter after speaking with experts,” Bargy said. “We made those changes and it led to the facility growing slightly.”

Some of the funding for construction will come from the $3 million state grant and another $2 million to $2.4 million in tax credit allocations provided by the Empire State New Market Corporation and Community Builders.

Bargy said Community Builders has been integral in building of the new facility. He said not only did they assist in the project receiving tax credits, they also signed on as a community housing partner, which helped them receive the grant from the state.

“[The state] and The Community Builders are critical in this project,” Bargy said.

The rest of the funding for the building and other associated costs, which Bargy said amounts to $7.8 million, was generated through donations from corporations, foundations and individuals.

Bargy said the organization will be constantly fundraising to continue to pay for operating costs. It’s something he said the organization has grown accustomed to.

“We are fundraising 362 days a year,” Bargy said, while noting they will take time off to observe major holidays.

Bargy said the new Boys and Girls Club will serve approximately 300 children on a daily basis.

The city donated a portion of Quackenbush Park for the building in June 2017. That transfer of land was approved by the state Legislature.

Bargy said the hope is to break ground on the project in November.

“And we really hope that we are able to open this facility when the school opens in September 2019,” Bargy said. “We really want to open when the school does.”

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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