Hope for an Embattled Community
Marking a time of renewal for the Ferguson area (which gained national attention in 2014 for violent protests following the fatal police shooting of teen Michael Brown), the new Teen Center of Excellence is a beacon of hope for the community. It offers a safe place for teens and youth ages 12-18 to gather after school and for summer programs and other activities in the North St. Louis County area. Intentionally located amid four school districts, it is one of the first facilities to focus solely on teenagers.
The new 26,856-square-foot, three-level center, made possible by private donations, includes a nutrition education center, gymnasium, 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 successful track record of more than 50 years in the St. Louis region as a youth services provider and have implemented nationally acclaimed programs at the new Teen Center of Excellence. Programs 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).
KAI served as the general contractor on the project, with Cardin Rackley, a former Boys & Girls Club summer program attendee, serving as Superintendent. In support of his work on the project and his many personal achievements, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis inducted Rackley into its Alumni Hall of Honor. Additionally, KAI Build was honored to receive the Associated General Contractors of Missouri (AGCMO) 2019 Zero Recordable Accidents Safety Award and the Outstanding Safety Performance Award for 25,000-50,000 Hours for its work on the Teen Center of Excellence.
General Contracting, Build
[The Teen Center] is a celebration of what has happened in this community and what’s possible. Five years ago, all eyes in this country were on this community, this very location, for what happened here. All eyes should be on Ferguson today for what’s happening right here...what you’ve done is truly incredible, remarkable and spectacular.
KAI organized a topping out ceremony where youth could sign the final beam installed
Placing the last signed beam
Equipping the next generation
The Teen Center for Excellence is about opportunity and connection. It seeks to both provide skills, new experiences and life-enhancing programs as well as positive relationships with other young people and caring adult mentors. In an area fraught with conflict and uncertainty, this investment in the next generation lays the groundwork for a promising future.