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Girl Scouts to open Newport Beach educational center on Saturday

A new Girl Scouts educational facility in Newport Beach will have its public grand opening Saturday.

The Argyros Girl Scout Leadership Center, named after major donors George and Julia Argyros of Newport Beach, is on the Balboa Peninsula, next to Marina Park. It replaces the Neva B. Thomas Girl Scout Program Center that had been on the peninsula since 1949.

The roughly 6,100-square-foot leadership center and adjoining patio overlooking Newport Harbor will be a hub for programming focused on STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math, Girl Scouts of Orange County Chief Executive Nancy Nygren said Tuesday during a tour of the facility before a private donor party.

“We talk about the center as a place where girls will create lifelong memories and life-changing experiences,” Nygren said.

The center includes a central atrium and two nearly identical rooms — dubbed “Innovate” and “Explore” — that will showcase Inspire, a multimedia program in which girls learn about future careers from mentors and how to take action on issues they care about.

The center also will be able to house Scouts overnight — it has a full kitchen, showers, bathrooms, a dressing area and an outdoor fire pit for nighttime s’mores making — and will host training sessions for adults. Given its proximity to the harbor, it also will offer kayaking and sailing.

Nygren noted that for some girls coming to Newport, it will be their first time at the beach or spending a night away from home.

Funding for the one-story building was included in a private $5-million fundraising campaign, which is still looking for $1.8 million. The Girl Scouts have a 50-year lease on the city-owned land for $1 a year.

Construction on the center began in early 2016. Officials are looking to get a silver-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, and Scouts will be creating permanent artwork displaying the center’s energy efficiencies.

Orange County is home to about 1,700 Girl Scout troops comprising about 21,000 Scouts and more than 10,000 adult volunteers.

IF YOU GO

What: Grand opening of the Argyros Girl Scout Leadership Center, featuring tours, activity booths and a ribbon cutting

When: 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: 200 18th St., Newport Beach

Information: girlscoutsoc.org/en/events-repository/2017/argyros_girl_scout_l.html

bradley.zint@latimes.com

Twitter: @BradleyZint


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