The Reno City Council today (Aug. 29) voted unanimously to convey the deed for a property at 1300 Foster Drive, site of the former YMCA building, to the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows, contingent on the Club’s construction of a new facility that will serve Reno families.

The Club was tapped earlier this summer by the William N. Pennington Foundation with a grant to build a state-of-the art, 45,000-square-foot facility, across the street from Reno High School – a positive place that will promote learning, healthy living, creativity and leadership for school-age children in the characteristic Boys & Girls Club way, while honoring the legacy of youth services that has been a hallmark of that property for decades.

Since the YMCA closed in 2007, there has been an obvious need for a facility to serve the nearly 26,000 school-aged children whose families live within a three-mile radius of the old southwest location. The new building will feature gym space, tutoring and computer labs, youth, tween and teen centers, and more, all backed by the Club’s proven programming model which already serves more than 10,000 school-age kids at 19 sites in the Reno, Sparks and Fernley areas. The Club will mount a capital campaign to raise funds to supplement the Pennington Foundation grant.

The late William Pennington may be best known as a local and international pioneer in the gaming industry, but his vision and foresight to improve the community he loved for future generations is exemplified in this project. The co-trustees of the foundation are pursuing this project to help fulfill the promise of 1300 Foster Drive, bringing back to life a site that has meant so much to local families for decades.

The Club expects the William N. Pennington Facility to attract between 3,000-4,000 additional members.

“We don’t have to look too far in the rear view mirror to remember what a loss it was for our community when this location was shuttered in 2007,” said Boys & Girls Club Chief Professional Officer Mike Wurm. “The community has been working to create a solution here for years, but it was not feasible with the existing building without a commitment of the proportions we’ve received from the William N. Pennington Foundation.”

With the addition of the Pennington Facility, the Club continues an existing legacy at this site. For four years the Club has operated the Early Learning Program at the E. L. Wiegand Youth Center. The Center includes a child care and all-day kindergarten program and is located next door to the William N. Pennington Facility site. That project was made possible thanks to funding from the E. L. Wiegand Foundation and the cooperation of the city. When the new construction is complete, it will essentially create a campus to serve as a beacon for youth services nationwide.

“It’s no secret that children start developing skills and habits for success early in life,” added Wurm. “The Club works hard to create an environment to promote learning, healthy living, creativity and leadership, available to every child that needs it, regardless of financial circumstances and we look forward to the potential that this site holds in regard to the sheer number of children who live in the neighborhoods surrounding this site who will have access to the Club programs for generations to come.”

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