July 26, 2012 in City, Idaho

Funding complete for Post Falls youth facility

Boys & Girls Club raises $501,000 at auction
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Map of this story's location
Room to grow

The Kootenai County club now serves 500 members. It has 250 more youths on a waiting list.

Boys & Girls Club of Kootenai County will be able to finish its new building in Post Falls and put away extra money for programs following a big fundraiser this week at the lakefront home of Duane and Lola Hagadone.

The club raised $501,000 Tuesday night at an auction hosted by the hospitality and publishing magnate and his wife at their Casco Bay estate on Lake Coeur d’Alene. That pushed the fundraising well past the $1.3 million goal for the 10,000-square-foot building under construction next to the Post Falls Library.

Club leaders had hoped to raise about $250,000 at the event, said Post Falls City Administrator Eric Keck, president of the club’s board of directors.

“We were just blown away by the generosity of the community,” and their belief in “the importance of the club and its mission,” Keck said.

“Now we’ll be able to set some funds aside for future operations and to help us with sustaining operations,” he said.

Construction began in May and is expected to be completed shortly after Thanksgiving. When it opens in December, the club will offer after-school programs to almost 700 children and teens in Kootenai County.

The building, going up at 200 W. Mullan Ave. on land leased from the city, will have a gymnasium, arts and crafts space, learning center for homework help, computer lab, teen area and cafeteria. After-school snacks are provided for club members, many of whom qualify for the free and reduced-price lunch program.

Keck said the new building should help draw in older teens who haven’t had their own space in the smaller, temporary quarters at the Post Falls Church of the Nazarene. They can serve as mentors and role models for younger kids, he said.

The club’s board has been planning and raising funds for the new facility for five years. Original plans called for a $2.9 million, 20,000-square-foot building, but that “mother ship” concept was scaled back, Keck said.

“As we’ve kind of matured and we’ve become more sophisticated in how we provide services to the youth, we understand that it needs to be community-based,” he said.

Club leaders have an eye toward building additional club sites in Coeur d’Alene and other communities, such as Hayden, Rathdrum and perhaps Plummer-Worley to serve Coeur d’Alene Tribe youths, Keck said.

The Kootenai County club now serves 500 members, ages 6 to 18, at its temporary space in Post Falls and a satellite club at Sorensen Magnet School in Coeur d’Alene. It has 250 more youths on a waiting list, and Keck expects the new facility will be large enough to serve all of them.

Fundraising for the new facility kicked off with a $500,000 donation from longtime Boys & Girls Clubs supporter Dick Bennett, of Hayden, whose family started Bennett Forest Products Co.

The contractor is Polin & Young Construction Inc., of Coeur d’Alene. ML Architect & Associates Inc., of Post Falls, designed the building.

The new club building will be named for Jordan Johnson, a Post Falls student who died from a heart condition in 2006. He was 15.

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