Inspiring groundbreaking ceremony held on Sept. 13
The sun was shining and so were the spirits of all who gathered to break ground on Sept. 13 for the new Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis Teen Center of Excellence in Ferguson, MO. The event marked a time of renewal for the area which gained national attention in 2014 for violent protests following the fatal police shooting of teen Michael Brown.
The $12.4 million Teen Center of Excellence, under construction at 9200 West Florissant, will offer afterschool and summer programs to youth ages 12-18 in the North St. Louis County area. KAI Design & Build has been selected as the general contractor for the project, which is expected to open in time for the 2019-20 school year and is one of the first of its kind in the country. The architect on the project is Arcturis of St. Louis, MO.
“KAI is ready to build this facility for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis. This is a much-needed community asset in North St. Louis County,” said KAI Design & Build President Michael Kennedy, Jr. “It wouldn’t have been possible without a region that is committed to creating positive change in Ferguson. I am really proud of what the private and corporate community is doing to make this facility a reality.”
The 26,856-square-foot, three-level center will provide a safe place for area youth to gather and participate in a variety of activities. Designs for the facility include a nutrition education center, gym, teen lounge, outdoor garden, auditorium, music and art studio, office space, intellectual commons, innovation center, and outdoor basketball and activity court.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis has a 50-plus-year track record of success in the St. Louis region as a youth services provider and will implement nationally acclaimed programs at the new Teen Center similar to those offered in the ten locations it presently operates (seven of which are located in North County). Programming will include an emphasis on health and wellness (such as yoga, healthy habits, open gym), education and workforce development (such as college tours, ACT/SAT prep, tutoring), STEAM (such as coding, app creation, robotics) and leadership and civic engagement (such as fine and performing arts, community service, applied arts).
“Building a Boys & Girls Club in the Ferguson area will produce positive outcomes in a community that has been subsumed with difficult realities and negative images. Adding a successful youth focused organization into Ferguson like Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis, which has a long track record of success, can bolster young people’s attitudes and give them a sense of hope. A new club will enrich our children’s lives and the city by helping its youth build strong character, graduate from high school with a plan for life, and become productive citizens,” said Dr. Flint Fowler, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis President.