Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Post Falls Boys and Girls Club to host open house Wednesday

Staff Writer | June 11, 2024 1:05 AM

POST FALLS — The 5,000-square-foot expansion is complete, the loose ends are tied and the Boys and Girls Club's Jordan Johnson Clubhouse in Post Falls is ready to welcome visitors to see what's new.

“Last summer we had our program at Seltice Elementary School, so everybody is really excited about operating the very first summer in the expanded clubhouse,” Boys and Girls Clubs of Kootenai County Executive Director Mark Kuhnhausen said Thursday.

The newly expanded club at 200 W. Mullan Ave. will host an open house at 4 p.m. Wednesday for community members who have been curious to peek through the construction fencing and see the work going on inside.

The club underwent a $1.7 million expansion that began in December 2022 and finished in September 2023, with a few details left to be completed. Kuhnhausen said the capital campaign was a success, bringing in about $50,000 less than the fundraising goal, an amount he said is expected to be covered by operations and grant funding.

He applauded the builders and engineers who worked on the project. The main builder on the project was Young Construction.

“It was incredible we came in on budget and the project was completed on time,” he said. “You don’t hear that every day."

The expansion includes more room in the teen center, which now has a secure external door with a patio to provide teens with their own entrance and outdoor space.

Jordan Johnson Clubhouse Director Natasha Malgren said club members and their families are loving the upgrades.

"The parents really like the extra security of that door being able to be locked so that nobody can just walk in at any time," she said. "The kids are loving the extra space and all the extra things we've been able to do with the extra space. Our teen program has expanded quite significantly since we have more space for them, and we’re seeing the older teen members coming. We have several that aren’t going to be in high school next year and they’re all really excited to come back this year, and high school age is when they start dropping off.”

Youth development specialist Cale Carver, 17, said he thinks the expansion is awesome. 

"I used to be in the teen room and it used to be really small. We didn’t have much in there,” he said. "The expansion, all the furniture, there’s a lot more computers now and the programming in there is better than before, I feel like. I’ve sat in there and seen a little bit, it’s definitely better than how it was.”

Three-year Post Falls club member Kaitlin Andrews, 14, said the larger teen center is her favorite part of the expansion because it allows teens to have breathing room as their personalities develop.

"They're going to need that space," she said.

She said she enjoys being a club member.

"I just think it’s a good place for people to get to know people and get out of the house and do something,” she said.

Along with the teen center, the expansion provided a kitchen upgrade, including a stove. While not a commercial kitchen, it is ideal for cooking and nutrition classes. This will be the first summer the club has the ability to offer packaged breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks every day.

Other expansion upgrades include a new tech center; single-stall teen and staff restrooms; security upgrades including interior and exterior cameras and secure doors; and a board room for staff and clubs to hold meetings.

The expansion has allowed for increased staff and club members. For summer programming, 15 teen spaces and 60 more club members spaces have opened for more youths to enroll.

Rita Case and Lola Hagadone were leading contributors to the capital campaign. Sponsor and donor signs will be placed around the club to pay tribute to those who helped make the expansion possible. The open house will serve as a way for the Boys and Girls Club to say "thank you" to its generous benefactors as well as answer questions from community members.

“This place should look inviting. We want people to feel good about coming in,” Kuhnhausen said, adding he was pleased the nonprofit was able to complete as much as it could without breaking the bank.

"It turned out good," he said.


    Kaitlin Andrews, 14, pops a volleyball into the air Thursday during gym time at the Post Falls Boys and Girls Club. Also pictured: Youth development specialist Cale Carver.
    Boys and Girls Club of Kootenai County Executive Director Mark Kuhnhausen and Jordan Johnson Clubhouse Director Natasha Malgren step out to the teen patio Thursday while showing what work was done at the Post Falls site during the recently completed $1.7 million expansion.