HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC)– The Henrico Police Athletic League is getting a new home — featuring all kinds of programs to serve the county’s youth.
Fairfield District Representative Frank Thornton and the remaining members of Henrico County’s Board of Supervisors handed over the keys Friday to the Math Science Innovation Center on Hartman street.
Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas said it’s a significant gift, as the building is worth over $10 million.
“We will always have your back because you’ve always had ours,” Vithoulkas said.
Kenneth Ragland is the founder and executive director of Henrico PAL. Ragland called the announcement ‘surreal.’
“I’m excited. This is really the next step in our maturation as an organization to actually have a home in which we can build upon and be able to serve more youth, and particularly some of the county’s most vulnerable youth,” Ragland said. “We’re extremely excited about this opportunity and more excited about what’s to come.”
Currently the organization has an administrative office in the West End and four other locations strategically placed throughout the county.
The Math Science Innovation Center building will become the organization’s epicenter, utilizing both building A and B with an administrative office and multi-purpose space.
It will house programs like a dance studio, stem lab, a boxing gym and an after school program.
More than 40,000 members of the county’s youth have participated in the program since 2007. Ragland said 98% have a positive attitude about law enforcement and over 50% make honor roll.
“When you look at society today, programs like PAL are needed more than ever before across the country, particularly as it relates to youth violence and violence in our society overall,” Ragland said. “It takes kids off the street and gives them the support that we all need to be successful as citizens.”
The nonprofit organization works closely with Henrico Police to help kids developmentally through educational and recreational programs.
Congressman Donald McEachin has submitted a project asking for $2 million dollars for the building’s renovation. Ragland says they hope to move in soon after a few items are addressed such as adding an H-VAC system.