GATESVILLE — The door of the big yellow bus swung open and a torrent of primary-school children gushed out of the vehicle and through the front door of the new Boys & Girls Club.

Inside, Club Director Julie Hudson needed a bull horn to be heard above the din of the churning flood of energetic youngsters eager to explore their new clubhouse.

“Make sure you shove your backpacks completely inside the cubby holes so they don’t end up on the floor, ” Hudson said.

Program Director Alison Estredge and several volunteers worked to sign the children in and direct them to several areas for snacks, homework, reading or just to chill while waiting for parents to pick them up.

“It’s awesome,” Estredge said of the

controlled chaos in the new club. “The kids are very excited. They were beside themselves” Monday, when the new building opened.

Hudson said 90 youngsters turned out the first day, and the daily headcount increased as children and parents adjusted to the first week of school.

“At the old club, we ran from 85 to 130 children a day,” Hudson said. “We are expecting to double those numbers for the new club.”

The new 7,200-square-foot building sits on two acres next to Gatesville Elementary School and replaces the club’s old 4,000-square-foot location at 206 S. Seventh St.

While the old club had one large room, the new facility includes a library, kitchen, 20-station computer center, office and several multi-purpose rooms for arts and crafts, media, music and games.

Foosball and pool tables from the old building were set up in the new facility.

The new club is walking distance from the elementary school, high school and junior high.

Gatesville Independent School District buses shuttle children from the primary and intermediate schools.

The club offers after-school activities from 3 to 7 p.m. on school days, and will be open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during the summer, Hudson said.

For more information about the Boys & Girls Club of Gatesville, call Hudson at 254-865-8347.

Contact Tim Orwig at

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