The Baker Youth Club will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house Thursday at 4 p.m. to celebrate the completion of the new location’s remodel.
According to BYC Executive Director, Tracy Furnivall, anyone from the community is welcome to come to the event to tour the new facility on Smith Street and learn more about the changes that have taken place in the last year.
The building, which formerly hosted the Kosciusko County YMCA, has undergone several changes in order to better accommodate the BYC and its members. Some of the renovations include fresh paint in every room, a new teen lounge and café where the free weight room used to be, a new kitchen and snack room, and a new basketball court exclusively for teens in the old gymnastics room.
Furnivall said that the biggest change that people will want to see is the new turf room. The new indoor sports area sits where the lap pool previously stood. The pool has been completely filled in and covered with artificial grass. The other pool has also been filled in and turned into a teen game room.
According to Furnivall, overcrowding played a big role in the decision to move into the new building. He said he thinks the kids will benefit from more space and a better location as well.
“We get into a lot of name calling, pushing and shoving arguments when kids are on top of each other. So I think the kids are gonna benefit from just having more room to go to. They will not be on top of each other, balls aren’t gonna be flying, so I think they’ll benefit from that,” Furnivall explained, “I think it’s a better location. We’re more centrally located so I think getting to us will be a little bit easier.”
Furnivall explained that a lack in teenager involvement also contributed to the move. He said he hopes the new areas of the facility that are reserved for teenagers will help create more interest and bring in more middle and high school aged students.
“We keep working hard to improve the grade school program, but to give those middle school, high school kids an opportunity to come somewhere and have a place that they can call their own I think is where we really want to see the impact,” Furnivall said.
The new location will officially open for the summer programs on June 8, 2015.