Growing With The Numbers

The Boys & Girls Club of the East Valley’s Compadre branch in Chandler, Ariz., completed a quarter-century journey in August, and began a new chapter in the fall. After occupying the same facility since 1983–the former Seton Catholic High School–the club moved into a new 33,000-square-foot facility with conservational attributes, additional amenities and extra space for increased programming for youth and community events.

In May 2007, Chandler residents approved an $8.5-million bond vote to fund a new interactive, dynamic headquarters for the club. In January, the site near the corner of Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard began the transition from old to new with a groundbreaking ceremony; it wrapped up in August with the demolition of the three old buildings to make room for additional parking spaces and landscaping areas.

Designed by the BCA Companies, and built by the Chasse Building Team, Inc., the new club stands as a shining model for incorporating traditional after-school programs with first-class computer technology. The facility–dedicated in November–is not only the largest, but also the only LEED-certified Boys & Girls Club in Arizona.

Chandler Club History

The Boys & Girls Club of the East Valley serves more than 30,000 children and teens annually, and continues to grow. Serving members in Apache Junction, Chandler, Gilbert, Guadalupe, Mesa, Tempe, Queen Creek and the Gila River Indian Community, programs are offered after school and during the summer to provide youth and teens ages 6 to 18 with fun and educational activities supervised by professional staff. The annual membership fee is $20 a year, and financial assistance is available; no child is ever turned away if unable to pay the fee.

Despite being in buildings more than 50 years old, the club always provided a rewarding roster of community-based, character-building youth-development programs. Currently, the club transports youth from five Chandler schools for the programs that run from 2:30 to 7 p.m. The fee is $60 per month, per child for transportation.

An Array Of New Youth-Enriching Amenities

The new state-of-the-art facility includes:

· Two gymnasiums (with the smaller one being larger than the old site’s original gymnasium)

· Computer labs

· Music recording studio and video editing suite

· Multipurpose rooms equipped for hosting other organizations for meetings and special events

· Office space for healthcare providers to conduct dental check-ups and physicals.

Note: The club also retains its baseball field while awaiting the installation of a new basketball court adjacent to the parking lot.

“We have some aspiring musicians, and we even had one member make a rap CD, so the technical capabilities that will be available in the labs and studio will present great, new creative forums,” says Mindy Elias, branch executive for the Compadre branch. “The computer labs will have different areas of emphasis for education and creating projects, so it won’t just be about playing games and surfing the Web. We look forward to hosting different types of school performances on the stage, and the facility will provide great versatility for renting space for weekend events to community organizations.”

With a grateful nod and salute to the club’s history, the new gym features the logos from the old gymnasium floor hanging on the wall.

Aside from the athletic space in the gyms and a fitness center for teens that is sure to be a popular gathering place, complete with TV monitors on the walls, the centerpiece is likely to be the Intel Computer Clubhouse, with 47 stations (the old club had 17), making it the largest in the world for a Boys & Girls Club. The teens also will have an outdoor patio, while the youth arts program includes an outdoor area for creating and displaying projects.

Other amenities include:

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