Boys and Girls Clubs’ new Crestmont Unit site ‘definitely going to be a step up’
By Jonathan Streetman 812-331-4353 | moc.1492613284tdlar1492613284eh@na1492613284mteer1492613284tsj1492613284April 13, 2017
The future home of the Crestmont Unit of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bloomington will be the biggest kid on the playground.
To the kids who visit the current space — an apartment building in the Crestmont neighborhood that’s used to house the club — the move to a bigger space will be most welcomed.
Soon to be located in the former Indiana University Community Eye Care Center, the club will have a library, instructional kitchen area and cafeteria, a computer lab, an art room and a full-sized gym, one with a full mezzanine with pool tables and other games. This 20,000-square-foot club is going to have it all.
The new club is within walking distance for 350 to 400 children, including Bloomington Housing Authority apartment complexes.
The renovations and expansion at the corner of North Monroe and West 12th streets will make it larger than the club’s flagship Lincoln Street location.
When a few Crestmont club members heard that Wednesday afternoon, they smiled proudly.
“In here, it’s always so crowded,” fifth-grader Landon Seacat said. “It’s going to be so nice not to have to wait on people to get off the court just so we can play.”
“It’s definitely going to be a step up from that,” fifth-grader Isaiah Eicle said, peering back at the current club.
On Wednesday, a 150-foot steel beam spanning the length of the club’s new gymnasium was lifted into place, marking an important milestone in a construction project that remains right on schedule, according to Boys and Girls Clubs of Bloomington executive assistant Victoria Laudeman.
“There’s a need in this community to be able to serve 400 children,” Laudeman said. “With this renovation, we’re closing the gap a significant amount.”
She said current club members were in complete disbelief when they saw renderings of the new facility, and that something so nice was being made specifically for them.
Brothers Nick and Todd Bevineau, fifth- and fourth-graders at Fairview Elementary, and Valeria Nunez-Rosales, a second-grader, were shocked by the size of the new building.
“I really didn’t think it was going to be this big,” Nick said. “I think there’s going to be a lot more kids that go to this club.”
“Every time I ride past it, it looks bigger to me,” Valeria said. “There’s going to be so much space.”
The project is being financed by the club’s recent, successful BIG Futures Capital Campaign project, which raised more than $6 million from private donors and local businesses.
“We’re here for all kids, but we want to be serving kids in particular who really need our support, and there’s no doubt that the densest population of kids that need us the most is right in this neighborhood,” said Executive Director Jeff Baldwin.
The Crestmont Unit’s program director, Aaryn Eady, said the investment within the community will have far-reaching effects.
“It’ll mean a lot for the community here just to know that they have the support of donors and fundraisers who believe in our community. Donors who believed that putting a multi-million-dollar, state-of-the-art facility here was worth it,” she said. “And for the kids — it’ll be a long-awaited reward. It’s really going to mean a lot to them to have something that is theirs and that they can break in and make their own.”
Eady said the new facility will allow for a lot more programming, including organized sports and increased academic support in the computer labs, where kids can do anything from learning about cyber security to printing out last night’s homework.
“On the bus route in the evening when we take all the kids home, we always go right past the construction site,” Eady said. “They are always asking questions and pointing out a new wall or something. They’re interested and they’re invested in this project.”
Construction is expected to be completed in late August, with a grand opening expected some time in September.
The Bloomington Wine Affair
WHAT: A wine-tasting benefit for the Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington. The event is sponsored by Big Red Liquors owner Mark McAlister, a former club kid.
WHEN: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: Big Red Liquors, 418 N. College Ave.
COST: Tickets are $15. Must be 21 or older; ID is required.
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