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Concord Boys & Girls Club preparing for makeover

  • Chris Emond, director of the Concord Boys and Girls Club, removes a framed picture from the wall while moving on Friday, April 12, 2013. The club is temporarily moving its location to the former Eastman School while they renovate their current facility on Bradley Street in Concord. Employees and volunteers have worked over the past weeks preparing and were moving the heavier furniture on Friday.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Chris Emond, director of the Concord Boys and Girls Club, removes a framed picture from the wall while moving on Friday, April 12, 2013. The club is temporarily moving its location to the former Eastman School while they renovate their current facility on Bradley Street in Concord. Employees and volunteers have worked over the past weeks preparing and were moving the heavier furniture on Friday.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • The Concord Boys and Girls Club is temporarily moving its location to the former Eastman School while they renovate their current facility on Bradley Street in Concord. Employees and volunteers have worked over the past weeks preparing and were moving the heavier furniture on Friday, April 12, 2013.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    The Concord Boys and Girls Club is temporarily moving its location to the former Eastman School while they renovate their current facility on Bradley Street in Concord. Employees and volunteers have worked over the past weeks preparing and were moving the heavier furniture on Friday, April 12, 2013.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • The Concord Boys and Girls Club is temporarily moving its location to the former Eastman School while they renovate their current facility on Bradley Street in Concord. Employees and volunteers have worked over the past weeks preparing and were moving the heavier furniture on Friday, April 12, 2013.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    The Concord Boys and Girls Club is temporarily moving its location to the former Eastman School while they renovate their current facility on Bradley Street in Concord. Employees and volunteers have worked over the past weeks preparing and were moving the heavier furniture on Friday, April 12, 2013.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Chris Emond, director of the Concord Boys and Girls Club, removes a framed picture from the wall while moving on Friday, April 12, 2013. The club is temporarily moving its location to the former Eastman School while they renovate their current facility on Bradley Street in Concord. Employees and volunteers have worked over the past weeks preparing and were moving the heavier furniture on Friday.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • The Concord Boys and Girls Club is temporarily moving its location to the former Eastman School while they renovate their current facility on Bradley Street in Concord. Employees and volunteers have worked over the past weeks preparing and were moving the heavier furniture on Friday, April 12, 2013.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • The Concord Boys and Girls Club is temporarily moving its location to the former Eastman School while they renovate their current facility on Bradley Street in Concord. Employees and volunteers have worked over the past weeks preparing and were moving the heavier furniture on Friday, April 12, 2013.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

Despite looming sleet and a winter weather advisory in effect, employees of the Concord Boys & Girls Club took to the road yesterday morning to move the few remaining items from their soon-to-be renovated space near Kimball Park to a temporary home at the former Eastman School.

By 10 a.m., staffers were nearly finished unloading furniture and other items from a large moving van.

“It’s all going pretty smoothly,” said Angel Anderson, a program director, as she directed traffic inside a hallway in the school, which has been vacant since it closed last year. “Everything should get done today. We’ll be ready to open the doors on Monday.”

The move is the first physical step in a long-envisioned plan to overhaul the club’s Bradley Street facility. The $3.7 million renovation project will include new insulation, 5,000 square feet of new space and a 50-car parking lot.

“It is about as close as you can get to not tearing down the structure,” Executive Director Chris Emond said.

Comprising the bulk of the expansion is a multipurpose room in which kids will be able to eat, play and perform shows. Other additions include a new kindergarten space, a teen center and an expanded and updated kitchen. The gymnasium will also get a face-lift – new bleachers, new basketball hoops, new scoreboards and better lighting.

“I think it’s fabulous,” said Athletic Director Tim Sprague. “I do most of my activities in the gym, and it’s long overdue for a makeover.”

The project will take six to seven months to complete, Emond said. So far, the organization has raised $2.3 million dollars and plans to pay for the rest with loans.

“We are going to have to go into a little bit of debt,” Emond said. “But the interest rates are so favorable right now, so really the longer you wait the more likely it is you could be facing something like $4.5 million for something that costs $3.7 million now.”

One of the principle reasons for the project is to allow more children to take part in the club. The building is currently licensed to hold 180 people, but with the move it will be able to take on an additional 40 children. That might not seem like much, but it fits with larger population trends, Emond said.

“The school-age population is not projected to grow over the next 25 years, so 40 kids is more than adequate,” he said.

The club has operated out of the Bradley Street facility for nearly three decades, and for the past 10 years staff and board members have been contemplating a makeover.

“It just needs some TLC,” he said. “We figured, while we’re at it let’s address the roof, the parking – and it grew from there.”

When staff began scouting three years ago for locations to use during renovations, they heard about the school district’s plan to open three new schools and shutter six old ones in the process.

“The timing couldn’t have been better,” Emond said, noting the proximity of the Eastman School to their facility and the similarities between the two buildings. “What’s nice about it is it’s built almost just like we’re going to arrange the new space.”

That’s because the redesigned building will allow for more separation between age groups.

Anderson said yesterday that the kids she works with are “excited” about the anticipated changes – particularly the kitchen overhaul, which will include a new center island to facilitate cooking demonstrations.

“Basically, now you can’t even fit five kids in (the kitchen) comfortably,” she said. “But we have been, because they love to cook.”

Other projects represent financial priorities. For instance, the roof renovation – plans call for new insulation and additional crossbeams – will save the club a ton in annual heating costs, Emond said.

“Every thousand dollars more we have to spend to heat the roof is a thousand less we can spend on scholarships,” he said.

The parking lot is another major undertaking. The building’s current lot has space for just seven vehicles, meaning staff members and visitors often end up parking alongside the building on Bradley Street. The new parking lot, to be built on neighboring land provided by the city, will unclog street traffic, enhance safety and allow for the installation of a multiuse bike path, Emond said.

In addition to structural renovations, the organization will also purchase new equipment for the space, including SMART Boards and flat-screen televisions, as well as game tables and furniture.

While the renovations are taking place, the club will continue to run bus routes between schools and from the Eastman School building. Though the club was officially closed yesterday for the move, Anderson said part-time employees planned to work in the afternoon to set up their classrooms so that everything would be in place for doors to open Monday.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319,
jblackman@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

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