Four Boys & Girls Club locations in Orange County are getting makeovers as part of a $6-million campaign aimed at increasing the organization’s local reach.
The Pursuing Greatness effort will enable the Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Irvine and Santa Ana locations of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Orange Coast to be renovated to varying degrees to increase the clubs’ capacity. Community leaders have raised more than $4.7 million for the cause so far.
“The idea behind the renovation is a marriage of design, function, engagement and fun,” said Robert Santana, chief executive of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Orange Coast. “We want to have flexibility of space and … make the best use of our infrastructure.”
The Costa Mesa site at 2131 Tustin Ave. is the oldest — built in the late 1950s — and considered most in need of repairs. It will be gutted and reassembled in a way that will more than double its usability without additional surface area, the organization says. Some walls will be broken down, some built and some simply repainted.
The gym, where 500 children participate in the fall basketball season each year, will be modernized with new hoops, rafters and paint.
Three new learning labs will be built to facilitate mentoring and STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics), and an art wall will be added to help “foster creativity.”
“It’s the same exact footprint,” Santana said. “The redesign is a … cost-saver.”
The Costa Mesa renovation will cost about $2 million, while the three other locations will split $3 million among them. The remaining $1 million of the campaign will support the club’s private foundation.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Orange Coast offers programs including computer coding, 3-D printing, public speaking and culinary arts. The renovation project includes new devices for children to use, such as laptop and tablet computers and charging stations.
“No matter what background or what ZIP code, we believe we need to equip all kids to be successful,” Santana said. “We’re teaching them how to learn new skills … to become lifelong learners.”
Even with all the technology available, 10-year-old Liza said her favorite thing to do at the Costa Mesa club is “help out the teachers.”
Itzel, 8, said she likes “everything,” but especially dodgeball.
Both nodded enthusiastically when asked if they were excited about the coming changes at their club.
“Right now there’s just not enough space,” said Ana Guillen, general manager of the Costa Mesa location. “Right now we have a wait list.”
Guillen said the club likely will be able to serve twice as many children after the redesign. The program for teenagers will go from serving about 25 per week to 75 or more, according to Santana.
The Costa Mesa club plans to break ground on the renovation in April. Most of the construction will be done over the summer, with completion expected at the end of August. Kaiser Elementary School, behind the club, will temporarily host its operations to prevent interruption.
The Newport Beach facility at 2555 Vista del Oro is scheduled to get two additional learning labs to promote STEAM education, plus gym refurbishment, an art wall, space improvements and updated technology and infrastructure, according to the Central Orange Coast website.
The Irvine location will get updated technology and flexible spaces along with an exterior face lift, Santana said.
The Santa Ana site will receive “light changes,” since it was renovated a couple of years ago, he said.
“By upgrading and renovating the buildings, we’re making an investment in kids who are not even born yet,” Santana said. “We believe in serving every child as if they’re our own … and we’ll only accept the very best for our kids.”