Boys and Girls Club now interested in old junior high

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The Boys and Girls Club is interested in possibly using the old junior high as a center.

The Boys and Girls Club is now interested in at least taking a look at the old junior high for a facility, Justin Lee told the Columbia Falls School Board Monday night.

Lee is the new board president of the club and expressed a desire to tour the building and have further discussions with the board. The club initially wanted to build a new $5.5 million facility adjacent to Ruder Elementary, but fundraising at that level apparently hasn’t come to fruition.

North Valley Hospital earlier this month said it would donate $25,000 toward project, which the club calls “The Hub.”

The school district has offered up the old junior high as an alternative in the past, but the club hasn’t embraced the idea, until now.

“What caused the change?” Trustee Larry Wilson asked Lee.

“Me,” Lee said, adding that the club needs to at least explore different directions with the project. The club already runs its after-school programs in the old junior high gym, which is perfectly functional and has a full basketball court.

Lee later clarified that it’s still a collaborative effort — the club’s board of directors is on board, as is Don Bennett. Bennett, the President of Freedom Bank, has been spearheading the fundraising drive for the project.

Lee noted that the club at least wants to look at the feasibility of the building and is simply interested in serving the community in the best way that it can. The club and school officials will tour the facility next week.

The school board agreed to have further discussions and put the matter on its agenda at its March board meeting.

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