GATESVILLE — Hailey Deemer, 10, carefully laid an armload of pool cues and a triangular ball rack into a pickup bed, then headed back inside the club house for more.
Boxes, bags and rubber tubs stuffed with games, toys and office supplies completed the load, and the pickup was ready for another trip from the old Boys & Girls Club, 206 S. Seventh St., to the new building at the corner of Main Street and Lovers Lane.
“We are finally making our big move,” said Keith Stewart, board chairman of the Gatesville club, as he pulled the pickup away from the curb Wednesday.
Construction of the new club building, which sits on two acres next to Gatesville Elementary School, started in December. The building will open Monday as Gatesville students head back to class.
While the club had use of 4,000 square feet in one large room in the old building, the new facility has 7,200 square feet that includes a library, kitchen, 20-station computer center, office and several multi-purpose rooms for arts and crafts, media, music, games, homework and just hanging out.
A fully equipped kitchen in the new building will enable the club to provide an afternoon meal on school days, Stewart said, and breakfast and lunch during the summer.
Club director Julie Hudson, program director Alison Estredge and staffer Violet Deemer (Hailey’s grandmother), along with Stewart and a crew of club members, parents and volunteers started the move in earnest Wednesday morning.
They packed, carried, loaded, hauled and unloaded most of what the old club had accumulated over the last eight years.
Help from Killeen
The pool tables, a freezer and larger furniture would follow later when the vans and trailer arrived with a crew of staff members from Boys & Girls Clubs in Killeen.
Calvin Darthard, Marlo Saunders, Edward Cody, LaCharles Green, James Carmichael and Brian Jones were among the Killeen-area staff members who turned out to provide muscle for the heavy lifting.
Club membership is open to boys and girls from 6 to 18 years old. Membership dues are $20 a year, Hudson said.
The club offers after-school activities from 2 to 6 p.m. on school days, and is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the summer. The new club is within walking distance of the elementary school, high school and junior high of Gatesville ISD.
The $1.2 million for the new building was raised entirely from private sources, with no government funds involved, said Mike Lam, building committee chairman for the club. About 85 percent of the money came from local contributors, Lam said. In addition to individual donors, two grants totaling $150,000 were received from the Mabee Foundation and the Meadows Foundation.
For more information about the Boys & Girls Club of Gatesville, call Hudson at 254-865-8347.