When the Boys & Girls Club of Detroit Lakes launched its capital campaign for constructing a new $6.5 million facility in 2017, its theme was "Building the Future."
As the club prepares for the public grand opening of its new building Thursday, Aug. 22, it's clear to see: The future has arrived.
Though some of the finishing touches on the facility are still being completed, Executive Director Pat Petermann says it will be ready for public viewing at the grand opening celebration, as well as a project donor sneak peek event Wednesday night.
"The construction crews will probably be out there right up until the morning of the opening," Petermann said earlier this week — and there will still be a few things to finish up afterward, he added.
But the punch list of items yet to be completed is getting shorter, Petermann said. "They are 95 percent done with construction of the facility. It will be operational by the time school starts — we will be open for the first day of school on Aug. 28."
Some painting, electrical work and furniture placement still needs to be done, but overall, "we're in pretty good shape," he said.
Pouring of the concrete for the outdoor sports court was set to be finished this weekend, and the gym floor would be ready for painting early in the coming week, giving the surface just enough time to dry for the opening festivities, he said. The pavers around the Crovisier memorial were also slated to be finished early in the week.
For those unfamiliar with the name, Lyle Crovisier was a Detroit Lakes native and U.S. Air Force gunner who was lost in action over the Philippine island of New Guinea on May 24, 1943. His mother, Berniece, donated the land upon which the Boys & Girls Club now sits to the City of Detroit Lakes, with the stipulation that it be named Lyle Crovisier Memorial Park in his memory.
As part of the fundraising for the new facility, Petermann said, they began selling memorial pavers to be placed around the monument, which will be rededicated during Thursday's festivities.
While the bulk of the fundraising for the new facility is complete, Petermann said, there are still a few remaining improvements that have not yet been funded, such as the construction of two new outdoor playgrounds on the site: One for younger kids, and one for the older ones.
Landscaping and some other projects are on hold due to weather constraints. Other issues, such as questions of land ownership, also delayed work, Petermann said.
The next step, Petermann said, is to get the facility fully staffed, and get all of the staff trained in how to use the new air handling and security systems in the building.
By the time they are done hiring, Petermann expects to have approximately six to seven full-time and 12 to 15 part-time staff. The increased need for staffing is because the new facility's capacity is approximately double what the old one's was, and they are expecting attendance to average between 150-175 kids when it opens on Aug. 28.
"We had average attendance of about 140 kids in the old facility," he said. That facility, which had been in use for most of the club's existence, was demolished last year to make way for the new building. The kids' programming for the club has been temporarily housed at True Life Church since then.
- A grand opening celebration and open house for the new Boys & Girls Club of Detroit Lakes building, 150 Richwood Road, will be 3-6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22. A ribbon-cutting will be at 3:30 p.m., followed by refreshments and tours of the facility. Because parking onsite is limited to about 50 cars, a shuttle will run between the club and the Grace Lutheran Church parking lot to accommodate the extra vehicles.
- An invitation-only “sneak peek” event is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21. Invited guests include donors who contributed the bulk of financing for the project. A new, permanent donor wall will be unveiled.
- Those interested in purchasing fundraising pavers around the Lyle Crovisier memorial should contact Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Pat Petermann at 218-234-1609, or Carrie Johnston at the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce, 218-847-9202.
For more information, visit www.bgcdl.org