Like the thousands of children who have enjoyed the facility for more than a decade, the Boy & Girls Club of the Hi-Line has to grow.
After celebrating its 10th anniversary, representatives of the club announced a plan to add onto and rearrange their Devlin School building on 1st Avenue, to accommodate the hundreds of Havre children who need their services, plans they hope to get started in about a year.
The plan is to consolidate all of the administrative offices in one area, while using the old main office as one end of a new, large, open room that could be used by several groups of club members during the day and could hold large events for community members and groups in off-hours.
A brand-new fully equipped commercial kitchen, the new refrigerator for which arrived this week, will replace the existing “kitchen, ” which is now mostly just a snack assembly area with a George Foreman grill and a few pans.
“We've done lunch that way for a couple years, ” said Tim Brurud, the club’s director, “so we’ve got some skills. ”
“It's amazing what you can do with a roasting pan, ” said Krista Solomon, HELP Committee executive director.
A $75,000 award from Maytag was given toward that part of the project, to equip and staff the new facility.
The new kitchen will also add the ability to wash dishes, which Solomon said “will be good, to get rid of paper products. ”
The front of the building will be both brought forward, to expand the frequently cramped foyer, and get a little facelift in the process.
On the other side, toward the asphalt lot, the club will be putting in a memorial fitness park. The grass-covered circle, split by a wandering sidewalk and filled with trees and park equipment, will be built in memory of, and paid for by an accumulated decade of donations made in memory of, club members who have died.
Aside from all the physical changes, the project is expected to allow the club to help 25 percent more children than they currently can.
They hope to break ground in the next winter or spring of 2014. But before that can happen, the club is calling on the community to pitch in a total of $500,000, less than half of the project’s total cost. That’s what the club’s Endowment Director Rachel Dean has been, and will be, working on.
“We’ve talked to foundations who have said they’ll jump in if we can get that, ” Dean said. “I’m confident that our community will step up, because they always do. ”
The endowment was set up seven years ago with an anonymous donation. About three years ago, Dean was hired to grow the fund, to provide stable funding for the club. Now that Dean has helped ease the club’s concern about the present, they are beginning to think about the future.