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Breaking ground: Boys & Girls Club project officially gets underway

City officials, Boys & Girls Club staff, and building project representatives used golden shovels to dig into the site of the club's new home on Richwood Road at Thursday's groundbreaking ceremonies. (Paula Quam / Tribune)1 / 6
This architect's rendering shows what the new, $6.5 million Boys & Girls Club facility is expected to look like when it opens, which is currently scheduled to happen in the spring of 2019. (Illustration courtesy of Framework Architects, Fargo)2 / 6
The former home of the Boys & Girls Club of Detroit Lakes was used by more than 150 kids per day during the school year; its rooms now stand mostly empty in preparation for demolition, which is expected to start later this month. (Paula Quam / Tribune)3 / 6
City officials, building project representatives and Boys & Girls Club staff were on hand for groundbreaking ceremonies held this past Thursday at the site of the club's new home on Richwood Road. (Paula Quam / Tribune)4 / 6
These golden shovels were used to break ground at the site of the new home of the Boys & Girls Club of Detroit Lakes this past Thursday. (Paula Quam / Tribune)5 / 6
The groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Boys & Girls Club home were well attended on Thursday. The club's former home, seen in the background, will be demolished to make way for the new building, slated for completion late next spring. (Paula Quam / Tribune)6 / 6

After 61 years of serving the youth of Detroit Lakes, the Boys & Girls Club of Detroit Lakes will soon have a new building to call home.

The first shovels full of dirt were turned Thursday at the Richwood Road construction site for the new facility, which will replace a building that had been in use almost since the day the club was first established in 1967.

"Eleven short months ago, we kicked off our capital campaign," said Petermann at the start of Thursday's groundbreaking ceremony. "To date, we have raised a little over $5.9 million of our $6.5 million goal."

Petermann thanked all of the businesses, families and individuals who had contributed toward the project during the "silent" phase of the campaign.

"The public phase of our campaign has started," he said later. "People can still contribute... we're still looking to raise about a half million dollars to reach our total goal."

Demolition of the existing club building is slated to begin sometime in the next couple of weeks. "We're still waiting on the permit for that," Petermann said, "but we're hoping the demolition can get underway in the next two or three weeks."

Once completed, the new building will be more than double the size of the existing facility, which has been vacated in preparation for the demolition.

"Our new building will be 29,650 square feet," Petermann said. "The current one is 12,900 square feet."

He added that they are planning for a May or June 2019 completion date; until then, club activities will be housed in temporary facilities around town.

"Grades K-3, about 100-120 kids, are out at the True Life Church on Highway 59 North," Petermann said. "Our 4th and 5th graders are at Grace Lutheran Church (on Roosevelt Avenue); there's about 40-50 kids there. And our teens (grades 6 and up) are on their own until the new facility opens, but once it does, they will have their own space (separate from the younger kids)."

Just as the existing facility has been, the new building will be constructed at Lyle Crovisier Park, which is owned by the City of Detroit Lakes.

"This is a city-owned facility, and will continue to be so," said Detroit Lakes Mayor Matt Brenk at Thursday's ceremony. "We look at this facility as being a tremendous asset to the community, not only because of this new facility, but because the club has and will continue to provide great programs and services for the youth of this city and their families."

Brenk and Petermann both thanked the many individuals, groups and businesses that have contributed toward this project so far, and will continue to do so into the future.

Petermann specifically referenced the project's general contractor, Olaf Anderson of Fargo, and its project manager, Cody Furstenau of Detroit Lakes; project architect Doug Fieckert of Framework Architects in Savage, Minn.; and Apex Engineering of Detroit Lakes, which is doing the site design for the facility.

"The subcontractors on this project are also mostly local," Petermann added.

Though a significant amount of the money needed for this $6.5 million project has already been raised, Petermann said there are still opportunities to contribute — such as through the purchase of an 8x8-inch granite paver, engraved with the inscription of the donor's choice, which will be placed alongside other pavers as an on-site memorial to their contribution.

"We're still working with our landscape designer to determine what form that memorial will take," Petermann said, adding that both a granite walkway and "some type of monument" are currently under consideration.

Though each paver costs $150, smaller donations toward the project are also more than welcome, Petermann added.

Anyone who would like to contribute toward the Boys & Girls Club building project is encouraged to visit the club website at (click on the "Building a Great Future" link); anyone interested in purchasing a granite paver should send an email either to himself ( or Sue Trnka ( for more information.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 17 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454