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Boys & Girls Club rendering

The Boys & Girls Club of American Canyon is planning to build a $4 million facility to replace its small, aging facility located off Benton Way.

AMERICAN CANYON — The city is considering a significant contribution to the Boys & Girls Club to help its fundraising campaign for a new facility off Benton Way.

A contribution of $350,000 is being discussed, according to a report prepared for the City Council. The Boys & Girls Club leadership is trying to reach its $4.6 million capital campaign goal by the end of this year.

The organization has raised about $3.2 million to date, Executive Director Mark Kuhnhausen told council members last week. The plan is to construct a 15,000-square-foot facility on the site of its current, aging clubhouse.

The existing building, made up of a doublewide trailer 3,000 square feet in size, is “not much to look at,” according to Area Director Jaime Gallegos, who oversees the club’s many programs spread throughout the city.

The clubhouse provides afterschool activities for about 150 American Canyon students. The organization, however, has about 600 kids in its membership, with around 400 participating in daily activities.

The small size of the clubhouse has forced the Boys & Girls Club to rely on facilities in local schools to have enough space for all of the children.

In addition to the 150 kids using the clubhouse daily, the Boys & Girls Club has 125 kids at Canyon Oaks Elementary School, 95 students at Napa Junction Elementary School, 55-60 children at American Canyon Middle School, and 20 students at Donaldson Way Elementary School, according to Gallegos.

The new facility would allow the organization to house all of these students under one roof, and still provide space for the city and community to use some of the new rooms.

It will serve as a “cornerstone for city events,” said Gallegos, noting it could be used to “highlight festivities” such as the city’s annual Easter egg hunt or its Fourth of July celebration, which are usually held at the adjoining Community Park II.

The facility would include centers for teens, education, games, arts and culture, nutrition, and technology, as well as a community center and an early childhood center.

Gallegos said the club added the early childhood center to its plans after realizing there is a lot of demand for such a facility in American Canyon.

“There’s really not a lot of options for parents with young kids,” he said.

City officials are interested in investing in the new facility as a way to help an organization that has done well by the community and because it will help certain departments, like parks and recreation, gain access to more space for events without it having to build its own new facility at greater expense.

“Staff is recommending the City provide funding in the amount of $350,000, equal to $200 per square foot,” Parks and Recreation Director Creighton Wright and City Manager Dana Shigley wrote in their report to the council.

“This would provide the City with access to the community room on the weekends and evenings, when not in use for Club programming, at a cost much less than we would pay to construct a new facility of similar size,” they added.

Gallegos also said his organization would be willing to make its new space available to nonprofit and community groups, like Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts.

He added that the facility could accommodate more than its current 600-student membership, allowing the club to take on more children.

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