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Concord Boys & Girls Club interested in Eastman School

The Concord Boys & Girls Club hopes to relocate to Eastman School while its Bradley Street building undergoes renovations next year.

The nonprofit organization is planning a $3.7 million expansion of its current building. It received a $500,000 grant this month from the state’s Community Development Finance Authority. The Boys & Girls Club will need to relocate for about six months during construction, said Executive Director Chris Emond, who wrote a letter to the Concord School District last week asking to use the Eastman School next February through October.

“The use of the Eastman School would mean minimal disruption to our programming during the Bradley Street renovation,” Emond wrote. “It is essential that kids continue to have a safe place to go when school is not in session.”

Eastman, a former elementary school in East Concord, closed last year as part of the school district’s elementary school consolidation project. The Boys & Girls Club is the only group to formally express interest in the building, said Jack Dunn, the school district’s business administrator.

No decisions have been made about the use of the school, and “it will be a discussion ultimately for the (school) board,” Dunn said.

Last year, a consultant for the school district proposed that Eastman School could become an assisted-living facility. Nearly 100 East Concord residents signed a letter to the school board opposing that idea earlier this year, saying they didn’t want a high-traffic use for the building. In March, the school board postponed taking action on the building due to the resistance from residents.

Construction is scheduled to begin at the Boys & Girls Club on Bradley Street in March and end by the time school starts next year, Emond said.

The Boys & Girls Club construction project will add 5,000 square feet to the Bradley Street building, expand its parking lot from seven spaces to 65 and create designated areas for each age group, Emond said.

When construction is complete, Emond said the organization will accommodate 40 more children, expanding from serving 180 to 220 children in its daily programs.

“The whole point of the expansion is to be able to accommodate more members per day, and our target audience is primarily children that are from low-income families,” he said.

In addition to the recent $500,000 Community Development Block Grant that the city of Concord received this month on behalf of the Boys & Girls club, the club was awarded $700,000 in tax credits this year.

Emond said the organization needs additional funding to complete the project and is currently in the quiet phase of its capital campaign. “We’ve got quite a bit of fundraising to do,” he said.

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