Teen Center Renovation
Wonder what all the noise is over at Harris and J? Our amazing Teen Center is undergoing an extreme renovation from top to bottom.
Check out the below article by Times Standard's Clay McGlaughlin for the full story!
Want to get involved? Email Liz Smith or call us 707-441-1030
Workers from Redwood Teen Challenge pose in front of the Boys & Girls Club of the Redwoods Teen Center at 3015 J St. in Eureka. More than 40 local businesses and service organizations are taking part in renovating the structure. (Photo courtesy of Gregg Gardiner)
'Project of the Year': Teen Center undergoing major renovations
Local businesses come together for Boys & Girls Club Teen Center project renovation
By Clay McGlaughlin
firstname.lastname@example.org @CMcGlaughlinTS on Twitter
Posted: 10/28/2014 03:02:21 AM PDT
When it was first constructed, the building at 3015 J St. in Eureka was meant to serve trolley cars. These days it houses the Eureka Teen Center, part of the Boys & Girls Club of the Redwoods, but Executive Director Liz Smith said that "the building certainly wasn't built with the intention of serving teens."
The Teen Center moved into the structure in 1995, and Smith said the building has needed a new roof for at least as long as they've been there. Combined with a host of other much-needed repairs, the price tag for remodeling the site was estimated at about $1.3 million, making renovations nearly impossible to afford — that is, until an army of volunteers and local businesses recently decided to take up the cause.
The project began when Winship Middle School Principal Kathleen Cloney-Gardiner attended a meeting in the building and realized how much work needed to be done. She said she went home and told her husband, Gregg Gardiner, that "the community has to do something better for those kids."
As the current president of Eureka Rotary Club and publisher of 101 Things to Do magazine, Gardiner used his connections in the community to begin mustering support for the effort.
"Gregg came and did a tour at the beginning of the year and said that the project was a bit larger in scope than he was prepared for, but he agreed to talk with his colleagues about the potential," Smith said.
Gardiner rallied many of the Rotary clubs in the area — Eureka, Old Town, Southwest Eureka, Arcata, Arcata Sunrise and Fortuna — to help finance the project, and the groups reached out to more than 40 local businesses seeking donations of funds, labor, materials and other in-kind support. Within a few months they had gathered pledges worth more than $1 million, bringing the $1.3 million estimate to around $250,000, and the project got underway.
Many of the Rotary clubs deemed it their "Project of the Year," as did the Humboldt Builders' Exchange, according to Smith.
In addition to repairing the roof, the participants plan to put in new stub walls to expand several rooms — including the computer lab and art room — and remodel the kitchen to bring it up to commercial standards so that the center can offer cooking classes. The building is also getting new flooring, windows, gutters and a heating system, as well as interior and exterior paint.
Smith extended heartfelt thanks to all the individuals, businesses and organizations donating to the cause.
"We have such an incredibly giving community, and it's been exciting to see this snowball effect in terms of support and professional talent," she said. "As a society, we tend to invest more money into younger kids, but I think it's incredibly encouraging for teens to see this level of investment in their space. We've had an average attendance of about 45 teens, and with these renovations we'll be able to serve about 100."
Not only are professional craftspeople donating their labor and skills to the Teen Center, they're also taking the opportunity to train others in their techniques.
Volunteers from Redwood Teen Challenge, a faith-based rehabilitation program for people battling substance addiction, are providing much of the labor in exchange for vocational training from roofers, plumbers, electricians and other construction experts.
Mark Noyes, an independent contractor who works with McMurray and Sons Roofing, is overseeing the RTC workers on the roofing portion of the project. The team started work about two weeks ago, and Noyes said they're about halfway through.
"It's a great project, and these young men are really talented and appreciative and excited to learn," he said. "It's been a great interaction and a real joy to take part in. One of my favorite things to do every day is to go and interact with them. I like the idea of restorative justice, giving these young men vocational training as a right of passage, so to speak."
Noyes said the project would take around 1,500 hours with a professional crew, and he expects it to take about 2,000 hours, training included. Depending on the weather, he estimated that they would complete the roof in two to three weeks.
Gardiner said major contributors to the project include O & M Industries, Schmidbauer Building Supply, Shafers Ace Hardware, SHN Consulting Engineers, McMurray and Sons Roofing, Recology, MAPLEService, Bayshore Mall, Humboldt Area Foundation, McLean Foundation, Smullin Foundation, Pacific Gas and Electric, Western Web, Humboldt County Office of Education, Carpet One, Carbonneau Tile, Belak Construction, Humboldt Moving and Storage, Carter House, Bayshore Mall, the local Wendy's and McDonalds franchises, and many, many more.
Once the roof repairs are completed in a few weeks, workers will begin remodeling the interior, which Gardiner estimated will take about another six months.
"Everyone we've asked to help with this project has said 'Yes," and that's just phenomenal when you think about it," he said. "It's like a barn-raising in the old days where neighbors came together to help complete a project. Everyone has a desire to make things better for these kids, and the community is really going the extra mile."
Gardiner emphasized that the project is part of a larger effort in local schools and the community as a whole to build brighter futures for youth.
"In the past, fishing and timber created all the jobs we needed, but with those industries mostly gone, a lot of jobs went with them," he said. "So it's really important to make sure not only that kids are safe, but that we give them pathways for success in life. I love what the schools and the Boys & Girls Club are doing as far as vocational training, because kids need to be able to study, learn, play and be part of a community that cares about them."
Gardiner added that the local community is incredibly generous.
"We live in a very special place, and Humboldt County really steps up when it comes to kids and almost everything else," he said.
While many of the initial needs have been met, Smith and Gardiner both said that additional issues are sure to arise over the course of the project, so other people in the community who would like to get involved are more than welcome to take part. To donate funds, materials, labor or other support, email email@example.com or call 441-1030.
Contact Clay McGlaughlin at 441-0516.