The Boys & Girls Club in American Canyon needs a new home and wants the city’s help building it. That was the message at last week’s city council meeting from the club’s executive director, Mark Kuhnhaussen, and Jaime Gallegos, the area director.
The local chapter hosts after-school programs for about 70 middle-schoolers, 100 elementary school students and 20 kindergartners divided among four locations, Gallegos told councilmembers. A 3,600 square-foot manufactured building on Benton Way currently serves as the clubhouse, while two elementary schools, Canyon Oaks and Napa Junction, as well as American Canyon Middle School, also host programs during the school year.
While there are enough personnel to run the programs, the chapter needs more space, said Gallegos.
“There’s no question we need a new facility,” Kuhnhaussen told the council.
Kuhnhaussen said the club’s board of directors is campaigning to build a new clubhouse. In order to get the ball rolling, Kuhnhaussen asked city officials for a $10,000 donation.
There is a long punch list of “to-do” items, including getting a site agreement with the city, creating a floor plan and figuring out a budget. And then there is fundraising to pay for it all.
Reached by telephone earlier this week, Kuhnhaussen said it’s too early in the process to be precise on details, but he guessed a new 10,000 square-foot clubhouse would cost about $1.5 million and require two years to fund and build. Kuhnhaussen, who’s been executive director in Napa for three years, said he’s been with the national organization for more than 20 years, and is a veteran of several fundraising campaigns.
After the presentation, Mayor Leon Garcia said the portable clubhouse went in about 10 years ago, “when the city was half the size (in population) it is today.”
In fact, the history goes back farther than that, according to club board member Michael Murray, to the mid-1990s when the late Jack Newell donated and installed the structure. Boys & Girls Club of Napa Valley holds a 55-year lease with the city on the land in Community Park II for no more than $25 per year until 2053.
Councilmembers all voiced support for a new building — and coming up with the requested money — and instructed the city manager to recommend a way for the city to fund the effort.