New $2M Boys & Girls Club’s construction underway near Vero High

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – Construction on a brand new $2 million Boys and Girls Club near Vero Beach High School is now underway after Club, Vero Beach and County officials gathered this week to break ground on the endeavor.

The new facility, located across from the Freshman Learning Center on 17th Avenue, will replace the Club’s 27th Avenue location, which has been woefully small for years.

“We’re really excited,” said Kelley Williams, of Boys and Girls Clubs of Indian River County. The club draws kids from all over the greater Vero Beach area, including parts in the unincorporated county.


She said that the organization has been planning to build a larger club to better serve Vero Beach for years. The organization kicked off a fund-raising effort to that end in 2007.

The new club is expected to serve approximately 150 kids, according to Williams. By comparison, the current club can accommodate about 90 children and has always had a waiting list of kids wanting to join.

The larger club, too, will be better equipped for staff and volunteers to provide the six core programs the Boys and Girls Clubs are known for. For instance, Williams said the new club would be able to use the Vero Beach High School’s sports fields to enhance its sports and recreation program.

The program promotes fitness, teaches children how to make positive use of leisure time, gives them skills for stress management as well social and interpersonal skills.

The new club, too, will offer a larger Teen Room and a larger Game Room, giving the different age groups more space to spread out.

Also, the new location will be under the Boys and Girls Clubs of Indian River County’s ownership. The organization is renting its building on 27th Avenue.

Williams said that the Club expects to have the new site open and ready to serve the area’s children by September 2010 – in time for the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year.

As with the organization’s Sebastian club, the Vero Beach location is on both City of Vero Beach and Indian River County property, according to Williams. Both governments have worked out a land-lease deal with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Indian River County that provides use of the property for $1 annually for the next 50 years.

“It’s just been wonderful,” Williams said of the support the organization has received from both government agencies.

And, without the support of the community, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Indian River County would not have been able to embark on the new venture.

“We want to thank all of” the donors, Williams said, who noted nearly all are individual donors.

The new club is part of an expansion effort for the organization. The group is also working with city officials in Fellsmere to open a Boys and Girls Club in the first floor of the Old Fellsmere School. The old school is undergoing renovations and is expected to be open by mid-July.

The club would be the first for Fellsmere and would serve children who can’t get to Sebastian’s club.

Once both the Fellsmere and new Vero Beach sites open, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Indian River County expect to be able to increase their membership by 30 percent countywide, Williams said.

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