WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A newly expanded Boys and Girls Club in Westfield opened to the public with much fanfare on Wednesday. Western Mass News stopped by to get a look inside and learn why facilities like this are so important for both children and their parents, especially now.
Renovations at the Westfield Boys and Girls Club began back in April. This morning, they were finally able to open up the doors of the brand new 15,000 square foot building. It wasn’t a typical ribbon cutting ceremony. Instead, they had kids line up and knock down a tower of cardboard blocks to properly celebrate the grand opening.
Bill Parks, CEO of the Westfield Boys and Girls Club, told Western Mass News that they worked closely with the state to complete the $3.5 million project.
“We started this plan to build this and fortunately, we worked with the Department of Early Education and Care and they have capital grants. We were so fortunate to be one of only four in the state to receive a million dollars,” Parks explained.
Parks told us they first announced the expansion plan back in February 2020, right before the pandemic hit and, despite all odds, they kept moving forward.
“It’s great for the kids because it expands the number of kids we’ll be able to serve, but also, it gives us a space that is so inviting and so open to inviting new programs and new opportunities,” Parks noted.
The project includes a brand-new preschool program for kids ages 2 through 5. In addition, the new and improved space will allow the childcare program known as Kidz Klub to host an additional 100 kids, bringing the total to 300. This is good news for parents who struggled to find day care options during the pandemic.
“It is also very important for parents to know they have safe places to be when they go to work. It not only makes their children happy, but it also makes them focused and constructive in the workplace, knowing that places like the Boys and Girls Club in greater Westfield exists, who care for their children while thy do their jobs,” said Mass. Commissioner of Early Education and Care Samantha Aigner-Treworgy.
Beginning today, the club will be open to kids in grades 5 thru 12 from 5:30 to 7:30 on Wednesday and Thursday nights. The new membership fee costs $50 per school year. For information on how to register your kids, CLICK HERE.