The Boys & Girls Club of Janesville has a waitlist longer than it’s ever had of children wanting to enroll in its after school programming.
Currently, more than 100 children are on that waitlist, as the current Boys & Girls Club building, 200 W. Court St., has a maximum capacity of 67 students.
But now it has a capital campaign on the horizon, a consultant with a proven track record of bringing projects to fruition and the hope that with a larger facility, it can double the number of 6-18 year olds who can take part in its programs.
“We always have a waitlist, but it has been increasing,” Executive Director Rebecca Veium said. “Our current facility just lacks the space,” to increase enrollment and still offer quality programming,” she said.
The Boys & Girls Club announced on Aug. 4 it had hired Illinois-based campaign consultant Snell and Associates. Snell assisted the Janesville Boys & Girls Club complete an assessment gauging community support for the project, and was the consultant for the Stateline Boys and Girls Club’s new facility that opened last December in Beloit.
The Janesville Boys & Girls Club is looking to build a 30,000-square foot facility, about two and a half times larger than its current one. In addition to enrolling more students, Veium said it hopes to have a teen center in the building, outdoor playground equipment and ball fields.
Many details, such as a specific location for a new facility and final price tag, will likely come into focus in coming months as the planning phases progresses.
The possibility of a larger facility was outlined in the Boys & Girls Club’s 2019 Strategic Plan, Veium said. Since then, the organization’s board of directors has examined whether it has the fiscal means for the project, and if it’s what’s best for the community, she added.
Approximately three-quarters of the student population the Boys & Girls Club currently serves qualifies for free or reduced meals, Veium said, and much of its programming is centered around academics and workforce development. With more space comes an increased ability to serve children and the community at large, Veium added.
“Our programming is helping address poverty,” she said. “If our kids can graduate high school, we also know that they’re more likely to continue with post-secondary education or training that will increase their livable wages, that helps break that cycle of poverty.”
In April, the Boys & Girls Club received a $750,000 grant from the city of Janesville’s COVID-19 federal stimulus allocation, for the new facility. Boys & Girls Club officials told city council members at the time they had verbal commitments from a few private donors and were planning to apply for grants, which they then estimated could total $5 million.