Enthusiasm is in the air at the Boys & Girls Club Ingold Unit on Ivy Street in Fallbrook. Renovations on various parts of the facility that began three years ago with systematic accomplishments, has now moved full swing into the building’s 2,200 square foot Games Room.
“Improving the building shows our commitment to the kids,” said chief professional officer Allison Barclay. “We want the best for the kids; we want them to feel we are making an investment in them.”
The ongoing work is being funded through the Capital Campaign the organization began raising money for several years ago.
“The goal was to raise $2 million in that campaign and I believe about $1.7 million has been raised to date, which is what we have been funding the projects out of,” said Barclay. Funds have also been raised through grant applications to the County of San Diego, which have been successfully secured.
“Funding for the work has come from the Capital Campaign – private donations as well as County of San Diego Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), and Neighborhood Reinvestment Grants,” said Barclay.
Projects already finished include moving the administration offices to a site further up Ivy Street (where the Boxing Hut was previously located); re-fashioning of a room to be a music room and recording studio; development of a new art studio, the addition of a $250,000 KaBOOM! playground, and renovation/upgrades to the computer lab and homework center.
“We have over 10 brand new computers,” said Barclay.
Barclay said the current project at hand, renovation of the Games Room, has a budget of $200,000.
“Work started on that room Nov. 19 and is estimated to be completed by around Jan. 1,” said club director of operations for the past 10 years, Lisa Ware. “We want to have it ready for the first day the kids come back from Christmas break.”
The renovations began with the interior of the room being stripped down to framework.
“The cinderblock was very cold; we are putting drywall on all the walls,” explained Ware. “We also knocked out the snack bar area which will provide for better supervision and safety.”
The addition of a heating and air conditioning system to the room has been long anticipated, and will become reality in this remodel. New games for the room will include bumper pool, air hockey, foosball, and more.
“We will also have some small tables for the kids to play games like checkers and chess, as well as a reading area,” said Ware, who added that the floor will be stained concrete with area rugs.
The first “staff” bathroom will be added to the facility with access from the Games Room
“That is just better for everyone involved,” said Barclay.
The addition of 74 new “cubbies” for backpacks is something staff and club members are greatly enthused about.
“It will be so nice, everybody’s backpack will now have a home,” said Ware.
“And we are getting a lot of new storage cabinets, because there is never enough storage,” said Barclay.
Approximately 300 youth, ages 4 to 18, use this branch of the Boys & Girls Club. “Our biggest population is in the 5- to 6-year-old category,” said Ware.
It won’t be long that when parents drop off their children at the club, they will see a new check-in area.
“It will be located right inside the front door, which I think is more efficient and secure” said Barclay.
Although staff and club members have had to display flexibility around the construction needs, all appear encouraged by the substantial amount of renovations that have been accomplished and are continuing.
“For the staff it provides pride of ownership; it’s invigorating to them,” said Ware.
In joining the Fallbrook operation, Barclay said her history with Boys & Girls Clubs has been valuable.
“Since I already have the background with the organization, I have been able to focus on getting to know the kids, community members, and staff since getting here,” she said.
“It has been very exciting for me to come in [to the organization] with improvements on schedule,” said Barclay. “The staff here is so great and our board of directors is very passionate and supportive.”
The renovation work is being done by Prava Construction, which is locally owned by Fallbrook residents.
“The project manager, Glenn Torrez, is a board member of the Boys & Girls Club, and has donated his fee to manage the project,” said Barclay.
After completion of the Games Room project, Barclay said the last item on the list would be refurbishing the facility’s gymnasium, a project expected to cost at least $250,000. The funds for that project have yet to be acquired.
“A CDBG grant submission has been filed for that project already,” said Barclay. “But we won’t find out until spring if we are getting it.”
Editor’s Note: Individuals, businesses, or organizations in the community interested in making a donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of North County Capital Campaign are invited to call Allison Barclay at (760) 728-5871.