MASSENA - Seven months after the agreement was initially reached, the Boys and Girls Club of Massena has completed the purchase of the St. Josephs Social Hall on Bayley Road to use as its home.
Club officials, including Massena Police Chief Timmy J. Currier, president of the Boys and Girls Club board of directors, met with real estate agent Lucy Kassian and the Rev. Scott D. Fobare, pastor of the St. Marys and St. Josephs Church, on Tuesday morning to sign the agreement and make a down payment.
The club made a down payment of $20,000 Tuesday, with the purchase price of the building being $125,000, including the hall and 2 acres. The club has one year to pay off the cost.
Mr. Currier said that the club plans to open at some point in 2014.
We have a committee thats working on (renovations), which is comprised of board members and community volunteers that are currently evaluating the building. Part of that, of course, is anything that were looking to do to make sure that its going to meet code, so we working with the code office on that, he said. There will be very little demolition in here because its a wide open space. We recognize we have to do something with the floor. We very likely are going to have to do something with the ceiling just because of the type of activities that are going to go on in here.
Mr. Currier added that the club is planning on operating from 2:30 to 9 p.m., serving children from ages 6 to 18.
Long range goals of the Boys and Girls Club include the development of a homework room, a multi-purpose art room, a room for primarily teenagers and a play area.
One of the beauties of the Boys and Girls Club is that the kids and the parents decide what programming that you offer, based on need, based on their desire. So theres a survey component, Mr. Currier said. We are very thankful to Father Fobare, the parish council from St. Marys and St. Josephs, for graciously working with us on the terms of this. This is kind of an unusual arrangement where essentially theyre allowing us to make a down payment and then giving us time to raise the money and pay that off, which puts us in a position where we dont have to go out and get financing, which of course would increase our cost. So they have been most helpful in helping us make this club a reality.
One of the reasons why we did that was because we saw value in having the Boys and Girls Club coming to Massena, and we wanted to endorse that, Rev. Fobare added. This building was a school prior to the hall, so this (area) was all classrooms. So when the school closed in the late 80s, early 90s, all the walls came down and thats what made it into a hall for us.
The former elementary school was built in 1960 and was for students in grades 1 through 6.
At the beginning of 2013, Mr. Currier made his case for the club as a member of a steering committee aiming for the groups formation. Back in January, as well as Tuesday, he noted the clubs partnership with Massena Central.
A big component of the Boys and Girls Club is to help enhance the educational process. When you think in terms of what the state average is or the local average with respect to graduation rates, and you compare to the national average for alumni of Boys and Girls Club, alumnus of Boys and Girls Club graduate at 90th percentile, Mr. Currier said. (This is) significantly higher than the state average and its important to point out that Massena Central has done wonderful things with their graduation rates and continue to do so. They are above the state average. ... By no means is the Boys and Girls Club an educational system, but its a support system for whats already happening. During those peak hours when kids tend to get in trouble, this gives them a safe place to come, socialize, learn, and improve their life skills.
Mr. Currier noted that the efforts to raise the remaining $105,000 cost is ongoing. The club will be applying for grants, applying to foundations and doing local fundraising, all of which will be through their capital campaign.
Weve had great support so far from this community in various ways, whether its been events that weve planned and held. Weve had a number of things that have been done by private citizens in this community where theyve held their own fundraisers for our benefit, and weve had a couple of people do memorial contributions. When a loved one has passed away, theyve identified the Boys and Girls Club as an organization that theyd like people to make memorial contributions to. So were thankful for all of the support that weve gotten, he said.
In May, Mr. Currier had set a goal to open the club in May 2014.
The club is anticipating a minimum paid staff of five or six, including an executive director, programming and activities head, and three or four assistants, according to capital campaign manager Bill Wolf.
The current Boys and Girls Club of Massena office is at Town Hall, Room 9, 60 Main Street, Massena, NY 13662 and is accepting donations.